UPDATE September 2022: The Department of Agriculture announced it would not implement recommendations to further wind back the summer ban. Importantly, this means live sheep exports through the Persian Gulf and Red Sea will not be re-allowed in early September, as had been proposed. This was the most concerning part of the proposed changes. The original changes reducing the prohibition period to Qatar and Jordan remain. With the Albanese government commiting to phase out the live sheep trade, we are now focused on ensuring legislation is introduced as soon as possible.
The live export industry has successfully lobbied to once again send sheep into the height of the Middle East summer, where suffering from severe heat stress will be inevitable.
A three month shipping ban has been in place since 2019, prohibiting sheep being exported from Australia to the Middle East during the scorching heat and humidity of the Northern summer.
This annual pause in sheep shipments was introduced in response to heart-wrenching footage of sheep suffering and dying from heat stress on live export ships.
The images were captured across five separate voyages and revealed:
- sheep suffering and dying from heat stroke;
- severely decomposed bodies in pens with living sheep; and
- sheep caked in melted faeces and urine.
While this was the first glimpse Australians had been given into routine conditions on live export ships, such suffering was well known and recorded by the live export industry for decades.
The Middle East summer has always been a time of increased suffering for sheep at sea. And it’s only getting hotter.