New regulations expected to be introduced by Australia in Q1 2019 could bring an end to the livestock export trade to the Middle East.
New regulations expected to be introduced by Australia in Q1 2019 could bring an end to the livestock export trade to the Middle East..
While those opposed to the export of any live animal continue to advocate for Australia to ban the live trade, the simple truth is if we don’t supply the livestock to these markets, someone else will” TONY SEABROOK, AUSTRALIAN SHEEP FARMER.
The live sheep trade between Australia and the Middle East is on the brink of eradication, after the Australian government released a new test for measuring animal welfare standards on board live exports ships to the region.
The draft advice released by the government recommends temperatures on board live export ships to the Middle East reach no higher than a wet bulb temperature of 28 degrees, which is significantly lower than the 45 degrees typically recorded during the Middle East summer.
The report added that under the new model “it may not be economic to export sheep to the Middle East during the northern summer, leading to a cessation of trade during this period”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Its recommendations would see a regulatory cessation of shipments to the Middle East between May and October, with substantial restrictions in other months,” the report said.
Australian animal welfare groups, such as Animals Australia and the RSPCA have said that the report “confirms what live exporters have known for decades, that shipping Australian sheep across the high heat months in the Middle East results in egregious suffering” and is “another significant step towards the live sheep trade’s inevitable end”.
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said the review would have “significant impact on Australia’s sheep industry, especially in Western Australia”.
“There is no future in live sheep export - sheep producers and farming groups must act now to prepare for business beyond this cruel trade, rather than fighting against the inevitable,” the RSPCA said in a statement.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud insisted he supported a sustainable live export industry and said it was up to exporters to make their trade viable.
“It is clear the sheep export industry and ship owners have not been proactive enough in dealing with this in the past and must now commit to investment in better technology to keep the industry sustainable,” he said.
“Other industries have done this in the past like the implementation of sow stalls in the pork industry, so the live sheep export industry and ship companies need to invest similarly in new technologies to dehumidify their boats,” he said.
“Exporters have significantly gained financially in the past from this industry and it’s now imperative they re-invest back into their industry immediately. ”I therefore expect the industry to start to show some leadership in greater investment in animal welfare standards,” he added.
The draft advice was a result of the government’s review into the live export trade following the Awassi Express disaster, when footage emerged earlier this year of thousands of sheep dying in searing heat. Final rules are expected by January.
Australian sheep farmer and PGA president Tony Seabrook has hit back at those attacking the sheep export industry, saying that Australia is one of the only countries in the world with regulations regarding the treatment of livestock across the supply chain.
“Of the more than 100 countries exporting livestock around the world, Australia is the only one that invests in ensuring and improving animal welfare outcomes throughout the entire supply chain, including slaughter in other countries,” he said.
“While those opposed to the export of any live animal, whether it is sheep, cattle, goats, or camels continue to advocate for Australia to ban the live trade, the simple truth is if we don’t supply the livestock to these markets, someone else will.”
Thousands of sheep die of heat exhaustion during each voyage.
Livestock ships need to have open pens to allow proper ventilation.
Australian sheep farmer and PGA president Tony Seabrook.
Conditions aboard Awassi Express during a recent voyage from Australia to the Middle East prompted an investigation.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.