Live sheep exports halted during northern summer, Labor to end the trade altogether
NO live sheep will be exported from Australia to the Middle East in the northern hemisphere’s summer, due to an industry moratorium on the controversial trade.
Livestock exporters will take $55 million less next year by halting shipments to the Middle East for three months, in hopes of delivering greater security to their trade for the rest of 2019.
Although Labor, if it wins the federal election next year as expected, has committed to ending the trade, pledging to transition the industry to chilled meat processing.
But for now sheep shipments from Australia to the Middle East will be stopped in June, July and August – the northern hemispheres’s summer and period with the highest heat stress risk for the animals.
Exporters have committed to the moratorium while the industry develops new technology which could address such heat stress risks.
Methods to detect and avoid temperature extremes, and on-board dehumidification, are among the measures being considered by research and development body Livecorp.
The move is expected to cost the industry about $55 million a year.
But Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chairman Simon Crean said the moratorium was about maintaining a strong and viable nine-month-a-year live sheep trade.
“The live sheep trade to the Middle East needs to be reset,” Mr Crean said.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government would wait for the results of a review of heat stress, which are expected to be released shortly.
“It would have been better if industry had shown leadership across a broad range of animal welfare matters some years ago,” Mr Littleproud said.
The step comes after crossbench MPs ramped up the pressure on the government to support a push to phase out live sheep exports over five years.
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