Live Sheep Export | Livestock

Around 3.5 million Australian sheep are exported to the Middle East each year. The most popular sheep breeds for live export are merinos from Western Australia. In 2009, the 3.5 million live sheep exports exported to the Middle East contributed $323 million in export earnings to the Australian economy.Australian sheep are highly regarded in the Middle East for their quality and disease-free status, and provide thousands of families and communities with a vital source of protein. Many countries do not have the land, climate or infrastructure to raise livestock sheep, and religious and cultural beliefs and a desire for fresh meat means many Middle Eastern countries rely on Australia for safe, fresh meat and protein.Kuwait was the largest market for Australian sheep in 2009, with the 950,000 sheep exported there representing 26% of total exports. Bahrain was the second largest market, taking 747,000 head. Everyone involved in Australia’s live sheep export industry cares deeply about the welfare of the sheep we export overseas. The Australian live sheep export industry operates to world-best standards and is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world.


AQIS accredited Australian veterinarians and stockmen care for the sheep during their journey overseas. Sheep have constant access to feed and water and room to move around and lie down. Each vessel has ‘hospital pens’ to provide extra care for sick animals. In 2009 over 99% of all sheep exported from Australia arrived fit and healthy at their destination after being well cared for during their journey.When the live sheep exports arrive in the Middle East the sheep walk from the ship into transport trucks and are taken to local feedlots. Here, they again have constant access to feed, cool, clean water and shade, and are cared for by local stockmen trained by Australian animal welfare experts. Most animals are then transported to local abattoirs for processing while some go to local markets for sale.Australian animal welfare experts are based in Bahrain in the Middle East and provide training, education and infrastructure upgrades to help improve animal welfare and care for Australian sheep in the region. They are delivering many animal welfare improvements with the help of local people, importers and governments.A key initiative that has delivered improvements for Australian sheep exported to the Middle East is the ‘in the ute, not the boot’ program. The program is aimed at educating locals on the correct way to handle and transport Australian sheep, and to date has been introduced in Bahrain and Qatar during the Eid al Adha religious festival. During the year, the majority of Australian live sheep exports are transported directly from feedlots to abattoirs for processing, however during Eid al Adha communities purchase sheep directly from feedlots for religious reasons and are often unaware of how to properly handle and transport Australian sheep.


A team of Australian animal handling and welfare specialists worked at feedlots in Bahrain and Qatar to ensure Australian sheep were transported in appropriate livestock trucks or utes. Feedlot staff were trained, advertisements were taken out and signs were placed throughout feedlots to inform locals of the transport policy. The program has resulted in a much improved system of handling and transporting sheep during peak religious festival periods, delivering significant welfare improvements for Australian sheep exported to the Middle East.

Ten Tips to Help You Manage Sheep Predators | Livestock

There are measures to help ensure sheep predators have a harder time killing your sheep thus encouraging them to seek other sources of food. Utilize a combination of management methods to help prevent coyotes and other sheep predators from taking too big a bite out of your sheep ranching profits.1. Use a livestock guardian animal. This is another animal who has developed an affinity for sheep and a willingness to defend the group. Livestock guardian dogs are the most common among sheep producers. Other guarding animals include llamas and donkeys.2. Care for and train your livestock guardian dogs so that they become effective guardians of your flock. A dog that is over at the neighbours, or too rough with the animals is not really being effective. These dogs require some effort on your part to help them learn what the job is.


3. Build good fences and maintain them. Good fencing can be a deterrent to predators. Electric fences, Electra-netting and field fence (page wire) are types of fencing commonly used as sheep fencing.4. Check the flock at least once a day and vary your routine on occasion to keep predators on their toes. You leave a scent trail and are a visible presence on a regular basis. At the very least checking often will give you an early heads up if predators are moving in.5. During times of high predator pressure consider bringing the flock closer to home or pen them in a night pen if feasible. If the flock is remote consider spending the nights near the flock during high pressure times or hiring a shepherd to do so.6. Remove the carcass of any animal that has died. Leaving carcasses on pasture or at the yard attracts unwanted hunters and scavengers to the area. This entices animals to return to your place for more. Once started there, it is a small leap to the live ones nearby.7. Utilize multi-species grazing. Bonding and grazing sheep with cattle can lead to added protection for the flock. The key to this is bonding the livestock to one another first.8. Building a flock with strong flocking behavior will serve in developing individual animals who know how to graze as a flock. This flocking behavior offers each individual ewe and lamb the very protection they need to ward off sheep predators.


9. Pay attention to the behavior of the flock. Does the flock act skittish one day? Have they changed from their normal routine? These are signs that they are being bothered and this gives you a heads up to do some observing and scouting to curb the problem before it escalates.10. Use a combination of the various tips. While no single action will be the be-all-and-end-all answer a combination of solutions can go a long way to ensuring adequate protection from coyotes and other sheep predators.