More specifically, the government proposes the following:
- The allometric stocking densities, independent auditing of pen air turnover readings, automatic watering arrangements and reduced notifiable mortality level from the existing Northern Summer Order are maintained.
- There will be a requirement for vessels to be equipped with automated data logging equipment to record wet bulb temperatures and for that data to be reported to the department for all voyages during northern summer to provide a comprehensive picture of animal welfare.
- The Secretary will sign an Order prohibiting sheep exports from June to August by law.
The Northern Summer Order, which applies since the 2018 northern summer, mandates live sheep voyages to the Middle East to comply with stricter conditions, including:
- Between 11 and 39% more space for sheep than prescribed under the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock
- Independent auditing of pen air turnover readings to verify the data entered into the industry heat stress risk assessment model
- Only using vessels that have automatic watering arrangements installed for each sheep deck
- A reduced notifiable mortality level for sheep exported by sea to the Middle East (from 2 to 1%).
In addition, independent Observers will have to be on all voyages that can accommodate them to provide an extra layer of reassurance that exporters meet their requirements.
What is more, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources believes it is important to gather more information this May to inform future regulatory decision-making for the northern summer. There was also evidence in submissions that June represents an increase in hot weather, which informed the department's proposal.
The department will use the data to better understand sheep responses to varying wet bulb temperatures in a shipboard environment. This new evidence will be closely scrutinised to build a comprehensive evidence base for live export regulation
the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources explained.