Vessels holding livestock twice as likely to be lost than all other cargo ships

Cargo vessels carrying livestock are at least twice as likely to be lost by sinking or grounding compared to ships containing just about anything else, The Guardian reports in a new investigation. These rates—3 percent risk of “total loss” for freighters carrying more than 100 tons of animals, compared to less than 1 percent among equivalent container ships—were based on a decade’s worth of data and calculated 60 deaths among crews and tens of thousands in livestock. Ships used to move animals are generally older and have been converted from other types of carriers that weren’t designed to carry moving cargo, which can get distressed during inclement weather. Animal waste byproducts also tend to corrode the ship’s steel, further eroding their integrity. Though international maritime organizations haven’t addressed the issue, an expert in animal law and policy said: “That assessment should recognize that the transport of chilled and frozen meat is the way that nearly all meat travels in commerce today. The idea of sending live animals is a holdover from a bygone era.”

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