Does WA’s live sheep trade need a long moratorium?

Zach RelphCountryman
Mecardo have released its latest analysis of the State’s live sheep shipping industry today.
Camera IconMecardo have released its latest analysis of the State’s live sheep shipping industry today. Credit: Cally Dupe

What is the economic impact of a three-month live sheep shipping moratorium on WA?

That is the question a Mecardo-led study into possible live sheep scenarios for Middle East voyages is asking the Federal Government to consider.

The agriculture analyst group’s latest live export report, dubbed Do We Need A Long Moratorium?, found a three-month trade pause might not deliver more benefits than a one-month shipping standstill.

It noted, in terms of sheep survival, the difference between a one-month moratorium and a three-month moratorium was an estimated 20 sheep per 50,000 sent.

The document also showed shipping changes, such as reduced stocking densities, returned lower than average mortality rates outside the moratorium period in the later stages of 2018 and the first half of this year.

Mecardo senior market analyst and report author Matt Dalgleish urged the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to consider a three-month ban’s impact on regional small businesses.

“The big question for our legislators is what is the cost of a three-month moratorium across the supply chain?,” he said.

Mr Dalgleish added WA shearing teams and trucking owner-operators would have reduced work for a quarter of the year, while feed suppliers would endure up to 40 per cent in lost revenue.

Mecardo representatives travelled to WA last month to determine how the June 1 to September 22 pause on live sheep shipments impacted sheep producers, owner-operators, pellet manufacturers and exporters.

The latest Mecardo-backed report follows the release of the Value Analysis of the Australian Live Sheep Export Trade document last month.

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