AGRICULTURE minister David Littleproud says any restrictions on live exports must take into account the needs of trading partners.

Mr Littleproud was commenting after the Australian Live Exporters Council announced a moratorium on the trade in live animals during the northern summer.

ALEC chairman Simon Crean told the ABC the decision was about “maintaining and growing a strong, viable, nine-month-a-year live sheep trade, and more broadly securing the future of Australia’s livestock export industry”.

The moratorium followed outrage earlier in the year when footage of Australian sheep on board the Awassi Express was broadcast by the Nine Network.

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Mr Littleproud said it would have been better if industry had “shown leadership across a broad range of animal welfare matters some years ago”.

“It’s important we respect our trading partners and make sure we work through practical solutions to ensure their food security,” he said.

“We await the science regarding the heat stress model which we expect shortly.”

The live export sector remains under intense pressure, with vocal critic and independent MP Andrew Wilkie this week introducing a bill to federal parliament that would ban the trade.

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