The move comes as live export shipping in Australia has attracted media attention over the last months, especially after a release of shocking footage depicting what Australian sheep experience onboard live export vessels. Major awareness was increased especially on the aftermath of the death of 2,400 sheep from heat stress onboard the livestock carrier 'Awassi Express' in August 2017.

Namely, Simon Crean, Australian Livestock Exporters' Council independent chairman, addressed that the moratorium is to supply sheep producers, who are responsible for the trade, with certainty and continued that the moratorium is part of a wider ranging industry of reforms.

The industry aspires to create new technology to point out the challenges that occur during June, July and August.

However, RSCPA, which in the past didn't agree with the Australian government, stated that the live export industry made a move to attempt to salvage its shattered social licence, and is intended to forewarn the few remaining live sheep importers so they can plan to stockpile animals in the lead-up to the Middle Eastern summer next year.

Also, from January 2010 to December 2017, Australia's sheep exports to Middle East benefited Australian economy by $2.06 billion, exporting 16.6 million sheep over 258 voyages. Yet, during this timeframe more than three quarters of Middle East exports concerning sheep voyages have recorded mortalities less than 1%, while the mortalities that reached more than 1% in the majority of 20 voyages occurred during June, July and August, northern summer period.

On the contrary, sheep exporters agreed to launch a program of transparency and on-board monitoring, which will be developed by LiveCorp. The program will enhance the communication between producers regarding on-board conditions and performance of shipment.

The moratorium will be enforced through ALEC’s newly established mandatory Code of Conduct which aims to:

  • Bring cultural change in the industry;
  • Support members to proactively point out and report on animal welfare issues, evaluating performance for further improvement;
  • Earn community trust;
  • Ensure the highest standards of integrity, accountability and transparency are maintained by ALEC members and that members are meeting their regulatory obligations.

All members of ALEC must obey the mandatory Code of Conduct. Failure to adhere to the Code may result in suspension or revocation of membership. Details of sanctions will also be published online.

Moreover, the ALEC Board has also endorsed the establishment of the ALEC Industry and Conduct Advisory Committee.  The aims of the Committee are to:

  • Undertake incident analysis and to advise on strategic development of policies to improve the livestock export industry regarding animal welfare;
  • Provide independent and expert advice on potential breaches of the Code of Conduct and/or concerns about a Member’s behavior and recommend corrective actions if necessary;
  • Demonstrate ALEC’s commitment to animal welfare, compliance with laws and regulations, appropriate conduct, business ethics and acceptable standards to the broader community.

The Industry and Conduct Advisory Committee will provide independent advice as an advisory committee to the ALEC Board. The Committee is expected to be operating by April 2019.

The Livestock Global Assurance Program (LGAP) is a purpose-built program to provide animal welfare results that are equal to, or improve upon, those provided by the Federal Government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System. LGAP aims to drive greater efficiencies and effectiveness in delivering those outcomes by extending accountability to the facilities in the supply chain, so that the in-market feedlots or abattoirs that actually own the livestock share the responsibility for ensuring their welfare.