Vets say Minister’s response to McCarthy Review fails to deliver on important health and welfare outcomes

17 May 2018

The peak body for veterinarians, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), is disappointed to see that the Government’s response to the McCarthy Review does not adequately guarantee stronger animal welfare provisions on future live sheep export voyages to the Middle East this year.

AVA President, Dr. Paula Parker, said that although we welcome the report’s recommendation to replace the mortality measures used to assess voyage risk with health and welfare measures, the recommendations and government’s response do not address the impact of heat stress on sheep.

“Irrespective of space allocation, thermoregulatory physiology indicates that sheep on live export voyages to the Middle East during May to October will remain susceptible to heat stress and die due to the expected extreme climatic conditions. Accordingly, voyages carrying live sheep to the Middle East from May to October cannot be recommended.

“Although we’re pleased that our recommendation around minimum increased space allocation based on allometric principles will be adopted immediately, we remain concerned these measures alone will not guarantee the welfare of sheep being exported to the Middle East.

“We’re extremely disappointed that neither the Minister’s nor the department’s response addresses heat stress during the peak heat season this year,” Dr. Parker said.

AVA provided an in-depth submission to Dr. McCarthy based on sound scientific evidence. Read it here.

Now that the review has been released, we will continue to liaise with Government, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and other stakeholders to address the health and welfare of sheep on live export voyages to the Middle East and provide advice on the animal health and welfare science.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.