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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Home found for 'sheep of shame'
The sheep were at sea for almost three months
Over 50,000 Australian sheep, stranded at sea for almost three months, have been given to Eritrea.

The so-called "sheep of shame" are now being offloaded in the African nation, after several countries refused them because of fears of disease.

An Australian government spokesman described the sheep as a "gift."

He said Canberra would provide Eritrea with some fodder for the animals as well as aid to meet the costs of transport and slaughter.

The sheep have been at sea since 6 August, after leaving the Australian port of Fremantle bound for Saudi Arabia.

But Saudi authorities in Jeddah said some of the animals were diseased and refused to accept them.

The Australian government disputed this and said the Saudis had no proper basis for refusing the cargo.

Several other countries also turned down the sheep when the animals were offered to them instead.

Animal rights groups around the world said the sheep should have been slaughtered rather than remain stuck on the ship.

More than 5,000 died during the voyage.

The animals were on their way to Australia's Cocos islands when Eritrea agreed to accept them.

'Sheep of shame' going home
17 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
US help sought for sheep ship
02 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Stranded sheep not for Iraq
27 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Activists halt sheep shipment
24 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Pakistan rejects Australian sheep
22 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Australian sheep on 'death ship'
12 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific

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