Review of live sheep exports by sea to, or through, the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer

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We released a draft report for public consultation from 17 December 2021 to 28 January 2022 and received over 700 submissions. Public consultation on this review has closed.

Since advising on 28 February 2022 that we would undertake additional stakeholder engagement in the review, departmental officials have engaged with animal welfare organisations, sheep producers, exporters and industry representatives, including meeting with stakeholders in Western Australia.

As an interim measure to continue to manage heat stress risks and to provide sufficient time for industry to prepare for the 2022 Northern Hemisphere summer, the Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021 (Animals Rules) were amended on 5 April 2022. These amendments affect arrangements for May and June starting this year.

The amendments reflect updated climatology information from the Bureau of Meteorology. The available science and evidence, and your feedback, were also considered.

The key changes are that:

  • sheep must not be exported to Persian Gulf destinations (including Qatar but not Oman and Kuwait) by sea on a vessel that leaves an Australian port from 22 May to 31 May unless additional conditions to mitigate heat stress risks are met, and
  • sheep can now be exported to or through the Red Sea from 1 to 14 June (this period was previously prohibited).

The amendments are set out in the Export Control (Animals) Amendment (Northern Hemisphere Summer Prohibition) Rules 2022, which is available at Export Control (Animals) Amendment (Northern Hemisphere Summer Prohibition) Rules 2022.

What happens next

The department is continuing to review the feedback received and the available science and evidence. Arrangements for the Northern Hemisphere summer will be finalised when the Review of live sheep exports to, or through, the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer is completed. The review is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.

We released a draft report for public consultation from 17 December 2021 to 28 January 2022 and received over 700 submissions. Public consultation on this review has closed.

Since advising on 28 February 2022 that we would undertake additional stakeholder engagement in the review, departmental officials have engaged with animal welfare organisations, sheep producers, exporters and industry representatives, including meeting with stakeholders in Western Australia.

As an interim measure to continue to manage heat stress risks and to provide sufficient time for industry to prepare for the 2022 Northern Hemisphere summer, the Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021 (Animals Rules) were amended on 5 April 2022. These amendments affect arrangements for May and June starting this year.

The amendments reflect updated climatology information from the Bureau of Meteorology. The available science and evidence, and your feedback, were also considered.

The key changes are that:

  • sheep must not be exported to Persian Gulf destinations (including Qatar but not Oman and Kuwait) by sea on a vessel that leaves an Australian port from 22 May to 31 May unless additional conditions to mitigate heat stress risks are met, and
  • sheep can now be exported to or through the Red Sea from 1 to 14 June (this period was previously prohibited).

The amendments are set out in the Export Control (Animals) Amendment (Northern Hemisphere Summer Prohibition) Rules 2022, which is available at Export Control (Animals) Amendment (Northern Hemisphere Summer Prohibition) Rules 2022.

What happens next

The department is continuing to review the feedback received and the available science and evidence. Arrangements for the Northern Hemisphere summer will be finalised when the Review of live sheep exports to, or through, the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer is completed. The review is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.