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Australia banned live sheep exports to the Middle East on animal health concerns

May 17, 2022

1 mins read

In April 2022, the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) announced to ban live sheep exports to the Middle East with effect from 1st June, ending on 14th September 2022. Some countries (within the Middle East), namely Oman and Kuwait, have been excluded from this ban. The decision to ban exports was implemented to manage the potential risk of heat stress, which causes sheep mortality during transportation. Sheep (lambs) are very susceptible to heat stress because of their high metabolic heat production, higher-than-normal respiration rate, and large surface area relative to their body mass.

Australia, one of the largest exporters of sheep and sheep meat, exports around 3 million live sheep every year, mostly to North Africa and the Middle East. Apart from the heat stress, some sheep fall ill or experience heatstroke during transportation as journey is long and shipping vessels are crowded with large number of sheep. In 2018, approximately 2,400 sheep died of heat stress on their voyage from Fremantle in Western Australia to the Middle East. In the short to medium term, Australia could impose a complete ban on live sheep exports, annually worth around AUD 92 million, according to market participants.

The Mintec price for sheep meat has increased by 10% m-o-m to AUD 6.2/kg in the week of 4th May 2022. Sheep meat prices in Australia could potentially trend downwards in the short-term considering the live sheep export ban and estimated 5% growth in the national sheep flock.

 

Topics: Meat & poultry
Rutika Ghodekar
Rutika Ghodekar

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