Canberra introduces sweeping changes to livestock shipments

A federal government-ordered review into live sheep exports from Australia – carried out in the wake of a high profile, shocking television documentary – has recommended a major reduction in animals on ships bound for the Middle East during the dangerous hot months in the middle of the year. Animals will have up to 39% more space on ships during the northern hemisphere’s summer months. An independent regulator will also investigate ships with mortality rates of 1% of sheep or more and penalties will be stiffened for those caught failing to adhere to the new standards.

Federal agriculture Minister David Littleproud initiated the review after footage emerged showing almost 2,500 sheep dying from heat stress during a trip to the Middle East last year.

By the 2019 Middle Eastern summer, ships must have automated environment monitoring equipment fitted in the pens. The report also recommended automated watering systems on all ships.

“We will be able to get underneath the bonnet of it and by actually having observers on the boats, we will get better proof and truth about what is happening,” Littleproud said while unveiling the results from the review today.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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