For the second year in a row, live sheep exports will be banned to and through the Middle East from 1 June to 14 September.
Additional prohibited periods have been established for Qatar (22 May to 22 September) and Oman (8 May to 14 September). In addition, changes to conditions have been ordered, including the use of mandatory automated environmental data loggers that record the temperature and humidity and new shearing requirements regarding sheep who have been bred by the industry to have an abundance of wool.
In 2018, footage aired on the news programme 60 Minutes showed the horrifying reality of Australian live-export ships destined for the Middle East – panting and heat-stricken sheep lying in piles of their own melting faeces and the decaying bodies of their flockmates.
While this year’s restrictions are a step in the right direction, they don’t adequately protect sheep.
The government’s own Heat Stress Risk Assessment review found that conditions on board live-export ships to the Middle East routinely exceed the heat-stress thresholds for Australian merino sheep between May and October. In addition, the government’s own observations described the open-mouthed panting of sheep during a voyage in May 2018.
Clearly, the ban is at least six weeks too short.
We won’t stop asking the government to implement a full ban on shipments during the recommended period identified by its own experts.
Please sign our action alert urging the minister of agriculture to do what’s right for Australian sheep: