Department’s response to McCarthy review

​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources supports the recommendations made by Dr Michael McCarthy in his review of live sheep exports to the Middle East during the northern summer and will be working to implement them, subject to further public consultation and testing of the findings relating to heat stress risk assessment.

Dr McCarthy recommends moving from a heat stress risk assessment based on mitigating the risk of mortality to mitigating the risk of heat stress, which represents a paradigm shift in the management and regulation of live exports.

Several of the recommendations will be implemented immediately, including moving to an allometric model to determine stocking density and reducing the notifiable mortality level for sheep exported by sea to the Middle East from 2 to 1 per cent.

Others areas, such as the heat stress risk assessment, require more research, testing and public consultation to ensure an informed and effective implementation—which Dr McCarthy did not have capacity to complete in the timeframe.

The department is committed to ensuring exporters manage animal welfare and will implement Dr McCarthy’s recommendations to improve conditions for sheep exported to the Middle East during this northern summer.

For Dr McCarthy’s full report, the list of recommendations and the regulator’s response, visit

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