MORE THAN 100 Irish lambs have reportedly died of suffocation on board a flight to Singapore.
The sheep were part of a flock of 1,700 Irish animals flown into the Asian city to be slaughtered at Monday’s Hari Raya Haji celebration.
They were found dead on arrival at the Changi Airport Cargo Terminal early this morning, Singapore time, according to local media.
Lambs are sheep younger than a year old at the time of slaughter.
The city-state 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.
The media reports suggest heat stress was the cause of the death and there was no sign of infectious disease in any of the animals. The remaining sheep are healthy and their meat is suitable for consumption, they added.
The Singapore Mosques Korban Committee also informed affected individuals who had earlier pledged the sheep for the 2016 korban, the annual ritual slaughter of 3,500 livestock held in conjunction with Hari Raya Haji.
Some 1,8000 of the sheep were due to arrive from Australia, and 1,700 from Ireland.
Every year the celebration takes place after Haj pilgrims converge on Arafat in Mecca, Saudi Arabia to perform the major rites of the Islamic pilgrimage.
In Singapore, sheep, goats or buffaloes are sacrificed as a mark of gratitude to Allah.
“Meat from Irish lambs yield more common meat weight after slaughter,” the SMKC said in its pre-Korban briefing. “This results in more meat that can be distributed and consumed per animal.
“The definition of lamb is a sheep that is no older than one year old at the time of slaughter. Australian sheep are animals older than one year old.”
The 1,867 sheep brought in from Australia for the korban were not affected and have been transported to 13 mosques here after arriving on 9 September.
In 2014, 174 sheep imported from Australia died mid-flight due to heat stress.
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation calls for an end to live animal exports.