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Live export sheep swims to freedom!

Live export sheep swims to freedom!

Posted 5 July 2012   by Karen         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: live exports, sheep, sheep, good news, FREEDOM!

In the calm waters of Eilat Bay in Israel, an unusual white figure was seen bobbing in the cold water. Was it a boat? A pelican? No. It was an Australian sheep, swimming for his life.

Sahar, as he became known, had jumped or fallen from the nearby pier where a live export ship was unloading. He was beyond exhausted, and struggling to stay afloat. His fleece was waterlogged, and his thin legs, ever intended for swimming, were paddling fast but failing to keep his head above water.

Were it not for the decisive actions of a 14 year old boy who jumped into the water and raised the alarm, Sahar's life may have ended then and there. But instead, a remarkable rescue operation ensued. The pictures say it all...

The image of a 50 kilogram sheep swimming off the coast of Israel might seem like an odd sight. But in reality, thousands of Australian sheep pass these waters every year. Sahar was just one of tens of thousands of stressed and confused sheep packed onto a live export ship in Australia, bound for slaughter in the Middle East.

Not all of Sahar's companions even survived the boat trip. Some died of starvation onboard as they couldn't get used to eating the unfamiliar pellet feed given on the ship. The sheep that did make it to Israel faced an even more horrible fate: a knife cut to the throat while fully conscious, before bleeding to death on the floor of an Israeli slaughterhouse.

This brutal death is not a one-off or some accident. This practice is accepted by Australia's live export industry without question. Yet it was clear to the people who helped Sahar that he deserved better. "Our thought was that the sheep deserved freedom, that it would be unfair to lead him to slaughter." said one of Sahar's rescuers.

The rescue team was forced to fight for Sahar's life a second time when the sheep importer learned of the rescue and demanded that Sahar be slaughtered along with his shipmates. Fortunately Sahar's rescuers were able to persuade the importer to surrender the sheep into their care.

After veterinary checks and a lot of TLC, Sahar regained his strength and was given sanctuary at a nearby Kibbutz (like a community-run farm). His gentle nature and amazing story made him a favourite with local kids who affectionately describe him as a "celebrity"!


Sahar's extraordinary story is one in a million. Yet he was no more deserving of compassion than the thousands of individual animals who began his journey with him. While we cannot save animals who have already met a cruel fate, we can save others from similar suffering.

With just a minute of your time, you can help rescue other animals from the pain and suffering of live export - click here to help end live exports.

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4_da_animals1 4_da_animals1 17 July 2012
Surely it's not that big a stretch for the people who fought to keep Sahar alive that the rest of those beautiful animals on those boats need fighting for as well? Good on them for saving Sahar, I sincerly hope that it changed a few peoples minds about live export that day. I almost hope that sheep lack intelligence just so poor Sahar doesn't make the connection that although he survived, the rest of his friends on that boat didn't. That would be too much for me to handle, put in his situation.. This story really is exactly described, one in a million. Come on people, make the connection! love
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Kelsey1 MsDrago Kelsey1 MsDrago 5 August 2012
Awwww. clap
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Hannahcolby Hannahcolby 8 August 2012
this story brought tears of happiness to my eyes. i am so so glad that he was able to break free, he must have been so confused and scared, but now he can live a happy life being treated the way he should be. im so happy for him happy
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Mystie Mystie 9 August 2012
It was sheer luck that he didn't become a sharks breakfast.
Will he or she be sold as meat from this community-run farm?
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mandy-lou mandy-lou 10 August 2012
I too hope sheep and other"meat "animals lack the insight so as to spare them the truth of what fate awaits them.
Im so glad to hear this story had a happy ending. What a lucky sheep. If only all the millions of others had such happy endings to their short lives.
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