Live Export

New rules include Middle East summer sheep shipment ban

Sheep Central, March 31, 2020

Loading sheep for live export.

LIVE sheep shipments from Australia to the Middle East will be banned for 3.5 months during the the northern summer months of June to mid-September under tougher new guidelines released by the Federal Government today.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is introducing new requirements for live sheep exports to, or through, the Middle East following the finalisation of the regulation impact statement (RIS) in March.

The changes will see improved animal welfare, with a focus on conditions to manage the risk of heat stress during the Northern Hemisphere summer (1 May to 31 October). This will apply from 1 May 2020 onwards.

Under the changes, Australian live sheep exports will not take place to, or through, the Middle East to any port from 1 June to 14 September.

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

Additional conditions will also apply to voyages departing between 1 May and 31 October to 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 1 June or leaving Australia between 15 and 30 September must have no more than 2 ports of discharge.

These changes have been made by the independent regulator under the Australian Meat and Live-stock 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. This process involved extensive consultation.

For more information on these changes visit the department’s website.



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  1. Jack Cleary, April 2, 2020

    Long overdue, but the exporters and importers will get around the safeguards.

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