Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson have welcomed a decision by the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) for a 2019 northern summer moratorium on long haul sheep exports.

A key component of our Private Members’ Bill and continuing advocacy was to see an immediate stop to the summer trade from next year.

While applauding the ALEC move, we note it has stopped short of confirming any permanent ban during these hotter months.

Industry has clearly seen the writing was on the wall for the summer trade, and have acted to pre-empt any possible measures implemented in relation to the heat stress assessment model, currently under consideration by the Department of Agriculture.

As we have continuously advocated, any decisions taken in this area have to be consistent with the science.

Now the first step has been taken, the sensible path is for both sides of the debate to construct a carefully considered transition to ending the trade permanently and across all months of the year.

We still believe a five year period for this is enough time to ensure minimal to no impact on this important export sector.

Tastes are changing in Middle Eastern nations. There is no fixed, firm demand for live sheep – our exporters are already sending significant numbers of sheep carcasses and boxed lamb to the region.

Today was a major step towards what we both believe is an inevitable and permanent ceasing of all live sheep exports to the Middle East.