This week marks the start of the annual live export season of horror that Australian sheep face, with 70% of reported annual mortalities occurring between now and October each year.
The milestone comes as the RSPCA met with Dr Michael McCarthy, who is undertaking the Government’s review into live sheep exports during the Middle Eastern summer.
RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer Dr Bidda Jones said while Australian temperatures were starting to decline, the temperatures and humidity Australian sheep will face on long-haul live export journeys to the Middle East will continue to soar over the coming months.
“May is the start of the worst suffering Australian sheep face when being live exported to the Middle East,” said Dr Jones.
“This is a time when we’re cramming our animals together and sending them from moderate climates to some of the hottest places on earth, at the hottest time of the year,
“It is during the May to October period that 70% of annual on-board mortalities happen, and that figure doesn’t even account for the suffering that leads up to those deaths, and the suffering of those animals that survive.
Senior representatives from the RSPCA met with Dr Michael McCarthy yesterday as part of the review into the conditions Australian sheep face during the hottest part of the year in the Middle East region.
The RSPCA highlighted to Dr McCarthy that the scientific evidence says May to October live export must end, and stocking densities on all voyages halved, in order to prevent the disastrous conditions shown over five voyages in recent footage.
“The response to this issue has been unprecedented. Never before have we seen so many Australians expressing their outrage and fury over the treatment of Australian animals,
“The Australian public is waiting and watching for the results of this review, especially now the hotter months have officially begun in the Gulf,” said Dr Jones.
“The chance to end the suffering of Aussie sheep, caused by these appalling conditions, is on the horizon,
“We’ll be striving to make sure the review takes all the current animal welfare science and evidence into consideration,” said Dr Jones.
The RSPCA is continuing its call for the halving of the stocking density on all future live sheep shipments, and an end to all exports into the searing Middle Eastern climate between May and October.
Tens of thousands of Australians are continuing to express their anger over live export cruelty at liveexport.rspca.org.au/take-action