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It’s abhorrent that the decision has been made to roll back a ban on exporting sheep to some areas of the Middle East during the northern hemisphere’s blistering summer months. We know the sheep suffer horribly on these journeys, where temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees and heat stress is off the scale.

Live animal export is systemically cruel. Multiple reviews alongside disturbing whistleblower footage consistently identify heat stress as a risk on all shipments between May and October, which means this increased window for exporters has a real chance to lead to mass sheep fatality. Moreover the decision to allow Australian exporters to take sheep through the Red Sea to Israel from 1 to 14 June uses historical data and doesn’t take into account climate change, which will obviously only make these voyages hotter.

Alarmingly, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s adjustment to the summer export ban was made while a Departmental review of live sheep exports is still being conducted. Indeed announcing these adjustments on the eve of an election, when there will not be another chance for the Parliament to sit and scrutinise the decision, demonstrates that the Government only cares about its financial interests.

I have called for an end to the vile live animal export trade for many years and this latest move just proves that the business cannot co-exist with animal welfare standards. The only way to end the cruelty is to end the trade.