The peak body for veterinarians, the Australian Veterinary Association says the Government’s response to the McCarthy Review falls short, failing to guarantee stronger animal welfare provisions on live sheep voyages to the Middle East.
AVA president Dr Paula Parker welcomed the report’s move to replace the mortality measures used to assess voyage risk with health and welfare measures, but argued the recommendations and government’s response do not address the impact of heat stress on sheep.
“Irrespective of space allocation, thermoregulatory physiology indicates that sheep on live export voyages to the Middle East during May to October will remain susceptible to heat stress and die due to the expected extreme climatic conditions. Accordingly, voyages carrying live sheep to the Middle East during May to October cannot be recommended,” Dr Parker said.
“Although we’re pleased that our recommendation around minimum increased space allocation based on allometric principles will be adopted immediately, we remain concerned these measures alone will not guarantee the welfare of sheep being exported to the Middle East.”
“We’re extremely disappointed that neither the Minister’s nor the department’s response addresses heat stress during the peak heat season this year.”
AVA said it would continue to liaise with Government, the Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders to address the health and welfare of sheep on live export voyages to the Middle East.