Over 120 Irish lambs die on flight bound for EID festival

Some 121 Irish lambs have reportedly died from heat stress on a flight from Ireland to Singapore. 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.

The lambs were found dead after arriving at the Changi Airport Cargo Terminal in Singapore early on Sunday morning (September 11), The Straits Times reports.

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

Findings from the authority 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.

On Sunday morning, the online paper reports that the Singapore Mosques Korban Committee also informed affected individuals who had earlier pledged the sheep for this year’s korban, the annual ritual slaughter of livestock held in conjunction with Hari Raya Haji.

In total some 3,500 sheep were offered for the ritual, 1,700 from Ireland and a further 1,800 from Australia. The sheep from Australia were not affected and were brought to mosques after they arrived on Friday last (September 9).

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.