The move will comply with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) review as the country looks to rectify the dispute over how live sheep are handled during transits to the Middle East.
From the 1 November, the following conditions are set to be implemented for traders exporting sheep to the Northern Hemisphere:
- A 17.5% 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 department said it will be implementing a series of changes to improve sustainability of the trade with improved animal welfare outcomes,” said a department spokesperson.
“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 for 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.
The Department has also issued the traders must comply with other changes recommended in Michael McCarthy’s review, which was created in May.
The review was created for traders to improve conditions for sheep exported to the Middle East during the summer months.
The scandal began in April after video footage was leaked to the press of sheep being exported in distressing conditions that resulted in 2,400 of them dying.
The accused exporter, EMS Rural Exports, later apologised for its handling of the animals and was later suspended by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.