Australian sheep exporters to stop shipments to Middle East for 3 months each year
Australian livestock exporters have today written to Western Australian sheep producers, advising of a new three-month moratorium in sheep shipments to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer.
The moratorium, to take effect from 1 June 2019, will mean no shipments of Australian sheep will depart any Australian port for the Middle East during the highest heat stress risk period of the northern summer.
The move comes amid widespread public anger in Australia after footage emerged showing the death of 2,400 sheep on a ship bound for the Middle East, prompting calls for the entire trade to be prohibited.
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council independent chairman Simon Crean said the moratorium would provide certainty to sheep producers who supply the trade, and was just one initiative which was part of wider ranging industry reforms.
“This is about maintaining and growing a strong, viable nine-month-a-year live sheep trade and, more broadly, securing the future of Australia’s livestock export industry,” Mr Crean said.
Exporters will observe the moratorium while the industry develops new technology which could, in the future, address the heat risk challenges associated with shipments in June, July and August.
“Potential solutions being developed by the export research and development corporation, Livecorp, include improved detection and avoidance of temperature extremes, and on-board dehumidification,” Mr Crean said.
In addition to the moratorium, sheep exporters have agreed to initiate a program of transparency and on-board monitoring, to be designed and developed by LiveCorp. The program will improve transparency and communication with producers with regard to on-board conditions and the performance of shipments.