(Bloomberg) -- A disease outbreak has killed at least 100 cattle traveling on a live-export ship from Australia to Indonesia, highlighting welfare risks of exporting livestock. 

An exporter using the Brahman Express vessel notified Australia’s government of an incident involving cattle deaths, the agriculture department said in a statement, without providing additional details. A spokesperson from Australia’s Livestock Exporters Council confirmed by phone that at least 100 animals had perished. 

“Initial assumptions are that this is a case of botulism, with the affected animals coming from a single property,” the council said in a separate statement. “Efforts are underway to treat remaining animals that may be affected.” The disease can affect both humans and animals, causing muscle paralysis.

The period sheep and cattle spend at sea has led to increased concerns over livestock shipments, which Australia’s government is seeking to phase out. Earlier this year, another carrier heading to the Middle East through the Red Sea drew international criticism when about 16,000 animals were stuck at sea for weeks after the ship was turned back due to security risks. Some 81 cattle died. 

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The Brahman Express departed Darwin for Indonesia in mid-March, according to ship-tracking data. The animals were discharged on Sunday, the exporters’ council said.

The agriculture department wasn’t immediately able to provide further details on the incident. Indonesia’s agriculture department didn’t immediately respond to a request for further details.

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