Muslim-majority countries will be the most affected if Australia bans the export of live sheep after a lawmaker proposed the legislation to parliament on May 21.
The proposed bill introduced by backbencher Sussan Ley came after new rules following a government-ordered independent review of animal welfare measures for the live export of animals to the Middle East during the summer.
The review was ordered after outrage followed the death from heat stress of around 2,400 animals on a ship from the port of Fremantle in Western Australia bound for the Middle East last August.
According to a Reuters report, lawmaker Ley said the new rules did not go far enough.
FINDINGS FROM THE REVIEW
The findings from the review, submitted on May 11 by veterinarian Dr Michael McCarthy, said the central issues relevant to sheep health and welfare during shipping to the Middle East in the months of May to October are stocking density, ventilation and thermoregulation in the sheep.
In its response to the review on May 17, the government said it supports McCarthy's recommendations, several of which would be implemented immediately.
McCarthy's key recommendations were:
- that the industry moves away from using mortality as a measure to a focus on measures that reflect the welfare of the animal. Within the risk assessment model this replaces the mortality limit with a heat tolerance level
- that the risk settings on the Heat Stress Risk Assessment (HSRA) are to be adjusted to better reflect community expectations
- that space allocation should embrace ‘allometric’ principles and adopt a k-value of 0.033, and this be utilised for any periods within the May to October period, unless overridden by the HSRA model’s assessment
- that a vessel’s pen air turnover (PAT) be independently verified, as part of the condition of an approved arrangement for sheep travelling to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer
- that the reportable level for sheep travelling from Australia to the Middle East be reduced from 2% to 1% effective immediately
95 PCT OF IMPORTERS MUSLIM-MAJORITY COUNTRIES
In 2017, Muslim-majority countries imported almost 95 percent of Australia's $192.57 million exports of live sheep and goats, according to Salaam Gateway calculation of data from ITC Trade Map.
TOP 5 IMPORTERS BOUGHT 87 PCT
The top five importers of Australian live sheep and goats in 2017 were all Muslim-majority countries.
They bought around 87 percent of the U.S. dollar value of Australia's exported live sheep and goats.
1. Qatar: 640,000 animals; $63.1 million
2. Kuwait: 646,218 animals; $62.9 million
3. Turkey: 224,757 animals; $19.15 million
4. Oman: 113,378 animals; $12.34 million
5. United Arab Emirates: 114,872 animals; $10.8 million
The McCarthy review can be read here in full.
The details of Sussan Ley's proposed bill can be read HERE.
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