Why do we export sheep live?

Australia has a long history of exporting sheep to many countries around the world and for many reasons, which have evolved over time.

Today, many countries want Australian sheep because:

  • Increasingly our efforts to help improve animal welfare is recognised as contributing to wider social and ethical change, better treatment of local sheep, improved worker safety and better meat quality.
  • Australian live sheep supply is an integral part of the importing countries’ food security programs.
  • There is a strong demand for sheep meat in Middle Eastern countries.  Australian supply provides the opportunity to meet that demand.  Without it, there would be a food deficit in these countries – the alternate supply is difficult and costly.
  • The majority of sheep exported comes from Western Australia, which is the closest side of Australia to the Middle East.  The live trade is an integral part of the WA sheep industry and provides a significant sales channel and livelihood for many WA sheep farmers.
  • Middle Eastern markets have been predominantly sheep meat consumers for thousands of years.  Beef is consumed in relatively small amounts.
  • Our customer’s first preference is for fresh meat, not chilled or frozen.  Fresh meat is generally considered as the best option.
  • Some religions require meat to be slaughtered in their country.
  • There is greater consumer confidence in fresh meat from locally processed Australian sheep versus imported meat.
  • Importing countries have confidence in the health status and quality of Australian sheep, regulatory certification systems, and our ability for meeting the consistent supply of high-quality sheep.
  • Australia can provide a variety of sheep classes and breeds with excellent quality and health status
  • Australian sheep offer great value for money.  They are high yielding, often the heaviest and best value (per kilogram) red meat option in the market.
  • Local businesses can use not just the meat, but the entire animal for different products
  • It strengthens breeding and herd numbers with quality genetics
  • It supports the development of a local processing sector in developing countries

Information source and for more information thanks to ALEC: http://auslivestockexport.com/good-animal-welfare-is-good-for-business/live-trade-faqs