The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources intends to implement conditions above the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) for live sheep exports departing from 1 November 2018.
The intent is to require journeys outside the northern hemisphere summer from 1 November 2018 to implement:
- a 17.5 per cent reduction in the stocking density required by the ASEL for sheep consignments to the Middle East
- independent auditing of vessel pen air turnover readings to confirm the data entered into the industry heat stress risk assessment model is accurate.
The proposed conditions are based on the best available evidence, supported by feedback from independent observers aboard live export vessels travelling to the Middle East and other relevant information.
The department intends these arrangements to remain in place until the comprehensive ASEL review has concluded, which will update the export standards according to the best possible scientific evidence.
Exporters are also required to comply with other changes recommended by Dr Michael McCarthy in his review of the conditions for the export of sheep to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer, including:
- the notifiable mortality level for sheep exported by sea to the Middle East will remain at 1 per cent
- independent observers will continue on every sheep voyage, reporting back daily to the department (including footage), to support verification and compliance activities.
The department is implementing a series of changes to improve the sustainability of the trade with improved animal welfare outcomes.
The review of the ASEL and the further consultation and testing of the heat stress risk assessment model are underway and are due to be completed by the end of 2018.
Both processes will support the development of high standards for live exports going forward.