Report on heat stress open for comment

A JUST-RELEASED draft report on heat stress for sheep being exported to the Middle East from the Heat Stress Risk Assessment (HSRA) Technical Reference Panel is now open for feedback.
Report on heat stress open for comment Report on heat stress open for comment Report on heat stress open for comment Report on heat stress open for comment Report on heat stress open for comment

A draft report on heat stress for sheep being exported to the Middle East is open for feedback.

Staff writer

The draft report aims to develop a new approach to heat stress risk assessment for the live export of sheep to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer.

The HSRA panel is a technical reference panel with expertise across animal welfare, heat stress and the animal science fields and an Australian Maritime Safety Authority representative.

A recent review recommended a move from the existing policy, which is based on mortality, to one based on the animal becoming affected by heat stress, with five related recommendations.

The first recommendation suggested a heat stress risk assessment framework that is ideally focused on animal welfare, using the heat stress threshold to assess the risk of heat stress in the various categories of sheep shipped from Australia, rather than assessing the risk of mortality.

The second recommendation advised the wet bulb temperature welfare limit be in no more than 28C for a standardised shipper. The current heat stress threshold does not take into account sheep weight, breed, condition score, acclimatisation, fibre length and where they are sourced from.

The third recommendation handed from the HSRA said there should be a 98 per cent probability that the deck temperatures would remain at or below the wet bulb temperature welfare limit.

The HSRA's fourth recommendation said the base space allowance for sea voyages should be determined by the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock, and then adjusted according to the HSRA.

The final suggestion put forward for comment said environmental conditions in destination ports be taken into account.

The draft report is now open to feedback, with stakeholders encouraged to provide their views.