​Media Release

Consulting on heat stress in the live sheep trade

13 September 2018

  • Issues paper on assessing heat stress risk in the sheep trade released
  • Part of the Heat Stress Risk Assessment (HSRA) review
  • Stakeholders encouraged to provide feedback and research

Work is underway to consider a new heat stress risk assessment for the export of sheep to the Middle East during the northern summer, placing greater consideration on the broader welfare of the animals. 

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud encouraged interested stakeholders to contribute, with an issues paper released for public consultation as part of the Heat Stress Risk Assessment (HSRA) review. 

"The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will develop a heat stress risk assessment model based on animal welfare outcomes," Minister Littleproud said. 

"This follows Dr Michael McCarthy's review of the sheep trade during the northern summer. 

"The McCarthy Review recommended a move from a heat stress risk assessment based on reducing risk of mortality to a model based on animal welfare. 

"The heat stress recommendations will be tested with the assistance of an expert technical panel across the animal welfare, heat stress and animal science fields and an Australian Maritime Safety Authority representative. 

"Interested stakeholders should provide their views on assessing heat stress risk in the sheep trade during the northern summer, and to identify relevant research and information. 

"The HSRA Panel will work with the Technical Advisory Committee undertaking the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) review." 

Stakeholders can provide their feedback to the issues paper via the 'Have Your Say' platform at haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/hsra-review. Submissions to the panel will close 19 October 2018. 

There will be further consultation on the findings and proposals to come from the review and consultation, and the new HSRA settings will be drafted in 2018 for 2019 implementation.​

Fast Facts

  • From 1 May to 31 October, exporters are required to comply with the following new conditions:
    • Reduced stocking densities
    • Independent observers on each boat, sending back photo and written evidence daily
    • Independent auditing of pen air turnover (ventilation) readings to confirm the data entered into the industry heat stress risk assessment model is accurate
    • only using vessels that have automatic watering arrangements installed for each sheep deck
    • reducing the notifiable mortality level for sheep exported by sea to the Middle East from 2 to 1 per cent.​