Australia will impose a new three-month moratorium on sheep shipments to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

This is a response to the outcry over video footage taken by animal activists showing appalling conditions on an export ship taking 64,000 animals to the Middle East last year.  About 2,400 sheep died from heat stress, which is almost double the industry standard.

Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) independent chairman Simon Crean said the moratorium would provide certainty to sheep producers.

"This is 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," said Mr. Crean.  "The live sheep trade to the Middle East needs to be reset," he added.

The moratorium will come into force from 1 June 2019.  During the next three months - which are the highest heat stress risk period of the northern summer - no shipments of Australian sheep will depart any Australian port for the Middle East.  The industry will develop new methods and technology which could address the heat issue.

"Potential solutions being developed by the export research and development corporation, Livecorp, include improved detection and avoidance of temperature extremes, and on-board dehumidification," Mr. Crean said.

A third of sheep produced in Western Australia are bred for live export, and vending them to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere months is worth $55 Million.