16 September 2022
To advise all stakeholders that the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has completed its Review of live sheep exports to, or through, the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer. The final report is now available on the department’s website: Northern Hemisphere summer review - DAFF (agriculture.gov.au)
- The review assessed the effectiveness of regulatory settings implemented in 2020 in protecting exported sheep from the risk of heat stress on voyages to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer.
- The review concluded that regulatory settings introduced in 2020 reduced, but did not eliminate, the risk of heat stress for sheep exported to the Middle East and improved animal welfare outcomes.
- The review also concluded that to maintain the welfare of exported sheep, an absolute prohibition period during the hottest, most humid part of the Northern Hemisphere summer should remain.
- The review makes several recommendations to improve or maintain animal welfare. These include that:
- sheep should be fed a minimum of 3% of their liveweight daily while on vessels travelling to, or through the Middle East during the non-prohibited periods of the Northern Hemisphere summer, and
- each vessel exporting sheep must deploy a minimum of 1 data logger on the bridge to record ambient wet bulb temperature (in addition to the requirement for environmental recording on decks holding sheep under current rules).
- These recommendations will be implemented by the department.
- The review makes several date related recommendations, to reduce the prohibition period during the Northern Hemisphere summer to certain destinations where heat stress risks are less than previously understood.
- These recommendations will not be implemented.
- Further details on the findings and recommendations of the review can be accessed in the final report.
When the department implemented new regulatory settings for live sheep exports to, or through the Middle East by sea during the Northern Hemisphere summer in 2020, it undertook to review the settings after 2 Northern Hemisphere summer periods (at the end of the 2021 Northern Hemisphere summer).
Livestock Welfare Analysis and Reviews Section
Animal Welfare Branch
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry