THE Irish Government is investigating after more than 100 sheep died on a flight from Ireland to Singapore over the weekend.
The livestock deaths were first early Sunday morning, September 11, when 121 out of 1,700 sheep were found dead on the plane when it arrived at Changi Airport Cargo Terminal.
Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) confirmed today that it was investigating the incident, which is believed to be heat-related.
"We have contacted the authorities in Singapore in relation to the parallel investigation that has commenced at their end," a DAFM spokesperson said.
"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 sheep were being transported to Singapore for yesterday's Eid al-Adha festival of Hari Raya Haji, in which a korban - or sacrifice - is performed.
Korban is performed in the first three days of the Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, where traditionally the animals sacrificed are goats, sheep, cows, buffalo or camel.
Sheep from Ireland as well as 1,867 sheep from Australia were being imported for the festival.
Upon discovery of the dead sheep agents from Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority began an investigation, which found there were indicators of heat stress but no sign of infectious diseases in any of the animals.
The remaining sheep and their meat were ruled fit for consumption.
According to a Singaporean government report, Ireland was chosen as an importer for the sheep because the country "is much closer, resulting in lower costs of freight and logistics."
The same report also said the meat from Irish lambs yield more common meat weight after slaughter.