In essence, RSPCA had already announced its support on the proposed new regulatory protections for live sheep exports to the Middle East during September and October. RSPCA Senior Policy Officer, Dr Jed Goodfellow commented
This is an important step forward by the regulator, in acknowledging the scientific evidence that sheep are at high risk of heat stress during September journeys to the Middle East.
According to evidence and based on Australian Department's of Agriculture & Water Resources draft report on heat stress, the conditions in June, July and August are too hot for sheep exports.
Also, considering sheep exports in early-to-mid September are used to the cooler Australian temperatures, so they're less heat tolerant than sheep departing in Australian summer or autumn months.
Once trade resumes, shipments to, or through, the Middle East must comply with the same conditions that applied in May 2019. These requirements include:
- verification of the ship’s pen air turnover;
- a heat stress management plan;
- stocking sheep in accordance with an allometric formula or the heat stress assessment model – depending on which provides more space per animal;
- collecting automated environmental data (wet bulb temperatures) and reporting to the department.
This decision only relates to 2019. Future regulation of live sheep exports to, or through, the Middle East will be decided following a Regulation Impact Statement process, the Government further stated.
Recently, Western Australia's Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development charged Emanuel Exports, Perth-based live export company, and two of its Directors with alleged cruelty to animals under the State’s Animal Welfare Act. The company's subsidiary, and an associate of Emanuel, EMS Rural Exports Pty Ltd, saw its livestock export licence cancelled by Australia's Department of Agriculture, as it was involved on a notorious incident of thousands of sheep dying from heat shock onboard one of its ships earlier this year.