Department investigating death of over 120 sheep on flight to Singapore

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that is has commenced an investigation into the death of a significant number of sheep during transport to Singapore.

Some 121 lambs were found dead on the plane they were on after it landed at Changi Airport Cargo Terminal on Sunday last (September 11). It is reported that they died from heat stress.

A statement from the Department said that it has 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,” according to the Department.

The lambs were part of a 1,700-strong flock bound for the Hari Raya Haji festival, also known as EID.

Irish lamb exports tend to peak in the weeks leading up the Muslim Festival as demand increases.

Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, was on hand to inspect the animals, and began investigations into the incident on-site after it was found that 121 of the sheep had died on the flight.

Initial findings from indicated that heat stress was the cause of the death and there was no sign of infectious disease in any of the Irish lambs.

The remaining sheep are healthy and their meat is suitable for consumption at the festival, it was reported.

This is not the first time that sheep have died due while in transit to the festival. In 2014, over 170 sheep imported from Australia died mid-flight, also due to heat stress.