A REPORT into heat stress risk for live sheep exports to the Middle East has recommend a range of measures aimed at improving the animals’ conditions.

The draft report was prepared by the independent Heat Stress Risk Assessment Technical Reference Panel.

The panel has recommended:

  • A heat stress risk assessment framework focused on animal welfare, using the heat stress threshold to assess the risk of heat stress, rather than assessing the risk of mortality
  • Using the current heat stress threshold derived, but not currently utilised, in the industry model as the wet bulb temperature welfare limit for exported sheep based on weight, breed, condition score, acclimatisation, fibre length and where they are sourced from. The recommended wet bulb temperature welfare limit for a standardised shipper sheep is 28°C.
  • The model should use a 98% probability the deck temperatures the sheep would be exposed to during a planned voyage would remain at or below the wet bulb temperature.
  • The base space allowance for sea voyages should be determined by the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock, and then adjusted according to the HSRA.
  • That environmental conditions in the destination ports be taken into account, and recognise the need to measure and record environmental conditions accurately.

The draft report is now open to feedback.


A new approach to heat stress risk assessment for the live export of sheep to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer was recommended in a review by Dr Michael McCarthy.

Submissions to the draft report are to be analysed by the panel in finalising its report and recommendations to the department.

The issue of live exports returned to prominence earlier in the year after the broadcasting of images of sheep in appalling conditions on board the vessel Awassi Express.