Live sheep trade to beat the summer heat

No more live sheep exports to Middle East during northern summer

Sheep
BEATING THE HEAT: LIve sheep exports will be avoided during the northern hemisphere summer to improve animal welfare outcomes.

BEATING THE HEAT: LIve sheep exports will be avoided during the northern hemisphere summer to improve animal welfare outcomes.

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New rules will ban live sheep exports to, or through, the Middle East to other ports for 3.5 months during the northern hemisphere summer.

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Live sheep exports will be banned to, or through, the Middle East from June 1 to September 14.

The Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has announced new permanent requirements for live sheep exports following the finalisation of a regulation impact statement (RIS).

The department said the changes, to apply from May 1, would improve animal welfare with a focus on conditions to manage the risk of heat stress during the northern hemisphere summer (May 1 to October 31 October).

There are additional prohibited periods for Qatar (from May 22 to September 22) and for Oman (May 8 to September 14).

As well, additional conditions will apply to voyages departing between May 1 and October 31 to better manage the risk of heat stress in sheep.

All voyages during the northern hemisphere summer must now be equipped with automated environmental data loggers with the temperature and humidity recorded and reported to the department.

Exporters will also be required to ensure sheep depart with the shortest wool length possible - not exceeding 25mm.

Voyages arriving in the Persian Gulf or Red Sea after June 1 or leaving Australia between September 15 and 30 must have no more than 2 ports of discharge.

These changes have been made by the independent regulator under the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997.

The RIS analysed the impacts and benefits of three policy options with the objective of reducing heat stress in sheep while supporting a sustainable live export trade.

The trade was temporarily banned for four months during last year's northern hemisphere summer.

The department stopped the trade in response to available scientific evidence, animal welfare concerns and public feedback about the risk of losses caused by heat stress on voyages during the northern hemisphere summer.

The industry has been under heavy scrutiny since April 2018 when whistleblower footage containing disturbing images of conditions on the live carrier, the Awassi Express emerged.

Since then, the industry in WA has got on the front foot to introduce changes and worked hard to restore public confidence in the trade.

The importance of live exports to WA's sheep industry was confirmed by research, which showed almost 30pc of sheep and lamb turn-off went into the trade during the past five years.

Analysis carried out by Mecardo, funded by LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia, showed that nationally, almost half of all revenue generated by live exports is retained on-farm, earning producers about $100 million a year on average.

The story Live sheep trade to beat the summer heat first appeared on Farm Online.

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