Minister turns up heat for live export resolution

Zach RelphCountryman
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
Camera IconFederal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. Credit: The West Australian

Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud has placed live sheep exporters in the firing line, demanding a prompt response to how quickly new heat-alleviation technology can be installed on livestock vessels.

Last Monday, Mr Littleproud increased calls for the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council to unveil a solution to rectify the heat-stress concerns plaguing the live sheep trade.

The plea followed the release of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ contentious heat- stress risk assessment draft last Thursday.

Mr Littleproud said the draft report, which proposed defining the northern hemisphere summer from May to October, used findings from ALEC’s research body LiveCorp into heat stress.

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“The industry did the science which helped create the heat-stress model but they haven’t done the work on the solution,” he said. “Why hasn’t ALEC led the industry transition? ALEC needs to tell me when they’re going to have the solution.

“Farmers need to know what progress exactly has been made on this solution and on implementing it.”

The heat-stress draft report also proposed a wet bulb maximum temperature of 28C be issued for all livestock vessels carrying live sheep to the Middle East in an effort to bolster animal welfare.

The measure takes humidity into account by wrapping a thermometer bulb in wet cloth.

Mr Littleproud said he had written to ALEC, requesting an answer to his concerns before the week’s end, while urging exporters not to boycott Australia’s live export sector.

“The live export industry needs to provide certainty to our farmers and our trading partners,” he said.

“Ship owners and exporters should not run away from Australia to run ships on live export routes elsewhere in the world, following research about live shipments into the Middle Eastern summer.”

After the draft report was released, ALEC issued a statement slamming the proposed model and branded it a threat to WA’s live sheep industry.

“It is very clear that the draft HSRA, as it stands, would have a significant impact on Australia’s sheep industry, especially in WA,” it said.

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