PRESS RELEASE: Summer sheep shipments must not proceed



Australian sheep will be condemned to suffer and die at sea again this year if the Australian government allows live exporters to send animals into the scorching Middle Eastern summer. 

"Over a decade of data shows that suffering and deaths from heat stress and heat stroke increase significantly between May and October and that reducing stocking density has no measurable impact on the welfare of sheep," said Lyn White from Animals Australia.

"It's been pleasing to hear Minister Littleproud's strong statements about the failings of this industry but we were disappointed that he has pre-empted the outcome of the review into summer shipments by indicating that these shipments will proceed." 

"The review may well conclude that these shipments are breaching Federal and State laws."

WA's Agriculture Minister has indicated that there is a prima facie case that the WA Animal Welfare Act 2002 is being breached during this period.

"How could export permits continue to be granted in the Northern summer months if these shipments are breaking the State laws that are in place to protect the welfare of individual animals?"

"Over recent days, Minister Littleproud has consistently said that these decisions are the domain of the regulator but by pre-empting the outcome of this review, he has effectively taken this decision away from the regulator."

Animals Australia said Australia's Chief Veterinary Officer should have been appointed to conduct this review. As the current vice president of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) and soon to be President, he understands Australia's obligations under OIE guidelines – the body that sets global animal welfare standards.

"As the evidence from five routine sheep shipments to the Middle East has revealed, Australia's live sheep trade is consistently breaching OIE guidelines, which Federal live export regulations, are expected to 'meet or exceed'."

"The OIE clearly states that sheep should not be shipped in extreme weather conditions."

"There is nothing more extreme than sea temperatures of 38 degrees, outside air temperatures in the 40's and 50's and suffocating heat and humidity deep in the hulls of live export vessels literally cooking animals alive."

Animals Australia said it was important to note that while a lot of discussion has centred on the August shipment where 2,400 sheep perished, some of the worst suffering documented was from the other four voyages.


MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Chalk | | 03 9329 6333



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