by Jenny Moxham
When they sailed away from Devonport and left Australia's shore,
'Twas as well the 50,000 sheep knew not what lay in store.
The ship, the Al Messilah, was headed for Kuwait,
Her hapless cargo destined for a cruel and gruesome fate.
Three weeks or more they'd spend at sea in a cramped and tiny space,
Where many a sheep would die before they reached that foreign place.
Three weeks in a stifling putrid pen in ammonia laden air,
That would aggravate and blind the eyes, the pain beyond compare.
And when they finally reached the port and stood on land once more,
Their joy would quickly turn to dread at the sounds and sights they saw.
Strange men with sticks would beat them and would tie their legs together,
And lock them in the boots of cars in searing, scorching weather.
And some of them would die in pens, the heat too much to stand,
So different from the climate of their temperate southern land,
And others sent to slaughter would be thrown down side by side,
To await their agonizing death in terror, bound and tied.
Each one would see the ones ahead receive their cut of death,
Convulsing as they choked on blood and struggling for breath,
Each one that sailed from Devonport would meet a fearsome fate,
Each sheep upon that Ship of Death now headed for Kuwait.
In February 2006, 50,000 sheep left Devonport bound for Kuwait. Protesters in dinghies and kayaks attempted to block the ships entry to the port and painted the words "Death Ship on the side of the vessel.