Monday 26 September 2016

Investigations launched after 120 Irish lambs died from heat stress on flight to Singapore

Initial indications are animals died during a scheduled refuelling stop en route

Published 13/09/2016 | 09:08

Stock photo. Picture:Jessica Shapiro/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Stock photo. Picture:Jessica Shapiro/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Separate investigations have been launched after more than 120 lambs died from heat stress on a flight to Singapore.

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The animals were part of a shipment of 1,704 Irish lambs being sent to the Asian city to be slaughtered at the Hari Raya Haji celebration.

However when the plane landed at Changi Airport on Sunday morning officials from Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority discovered that some had died.

In a statement, released to Independent.ie, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine (DAFM) said: “DAFM confirms that it has commenced an investigation into the death of a significant number of sheep during transport to Singapore, as reported.

"We have contacted the authorities in Singapore in relation to the parallel investigation that has commenced at their end. Initial indications are that the animals may have succumbed to heat stress as a result of a problem that arose during a scheduled refuelling stop en route.”

The lambs were intended for 26 mosques in Singapore during the Muslim festival. The remaining lambs were thought to be healthy and suitable for consumption.

Singapore Prime Minister confirmed the incident on Facebook.

He wrote: "Muslims also perform the korban (sacrifice) rites today and distribute the meat to the less fortunate and share among families and friends. Unfortunately, some sheep did not survive the flight to Singapore. We are investigating how this happened.

Nevertheless, the korban rites are carrying on as scheduled. Those who have pledged to do korban are able to do so. My deep appreciation to all who have worked hard to enable korban rites to take place here."

The Singapore Mosques Korban Committee said Ireland was selected over Canada for lamb as "the distance is much closer, resulting in lower cost of freight and logistics".

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