Australia’s grazing industries breathed a sigh of relief today with the release of the keenly anticipated review into the Live Export trade into the Middle East.
Commissioned by Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, following disturbing footage uncovering appalling conditions on some live export boats, the review by veterinarian Dr Michael McCarthy delivers twenty-three recommendations to improve animal welfare outcomes within the live export trade.
Vocal advocate of the Ag sector of Central Queensland and Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said she was very pleased to see sensible improvements made to the industry to secure its future.
“While sheep make up a very small percentage of the grazing industry of CQ, I have watched this process very keenly.
“Dozens of graziers in Central Queensland rely on various live export markets, to sustain their beef enterprises; and I know how concerned they have been waiting for this report.
“The recommendations strike a solid balance between stopping the awful conditions that existed on some boats without decimating the trade all together; it was vital we didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” said Ms Landry.
The Coalition Government has accepted all 23 recommendations made by Dr McCarthy, subject to further testing and consultation of a recommendation to revise the Heat Stress Risk Assessment. The changes to the regulation of the trade will include:-
• A reduction in stocking densities so fewer sheep will be carried on a vessel at any given time. This means sheep will get up to 39 per cent more space and reduce stocking densities by up to 28 per cent.
• The reportable mortality level will be halved from 2 to 1 per cent, which means if more than 1 per cent of sheep die it must be reported and investigated.
• There will be tough new penalties on exporters who put profit before animal welfare and break the rules.
• Independent observers will be placed on every voyage carrying either sheep or cattle - not just the sheep voyages during the northern summer - reporting back daily to the Independent Regulator.
“There will be immediate changes that impact now on the live sheep trade during the current Middle Eastern Summer and there will be changes that will be take time to introduce,” said Ms Landry.
“This includes working toward a revised heat stress risk assessment model that focuses on animal welfare, rather than mortality - just because a sheep didn't die doesn't mean it was treated well. “
These actions are a seismic shift and give exporters an incentive to invest in improving boats which improve animal welfare, while delivering certainty for the many grazing families who rely on the market certainty live export provides.
The full McCarthy Report can be found at