A Federal Government-ordered review into live export has returned several key recommendations for the trade, however sheep exports to the Middle East will continue during the most dangerous months of the year.
While the RSPCA has called for a blanket ban on live sheep exports during the northern hemisphere's hot summer months, when sheep fatalities reach their peak, Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud has dismissed the plea.
Instead, Littleproud accepted livestock vet Michael McCarthy's recommendations that stocking density on ships should decrease by up to 28 per cent during the hotter months.
Animal Australia's Lyn White has slammed the Government's actions in response to the review, calling it an appalling breach of faith in favour of profit margins over humanity.
"This is a lily-livered government response designed to protect exporters, not animals," she said.
Both the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA have declared it impossible to humanely export live sheep during summer.
Stocking density is one among several changes to the live export trade that the review has recommended.
The government has proposed harsher penalties for dodgy exporters, including jail terms of up to 10 years for company directors and individuals.
Increased fines will also be legislated within the coming weeks, ranging between $420,000 for individuals and $4.2 million for companies.
Any live export voyage with a mortality rate of more than one per cent will be investigated by an independent regulator.
All sheep and cattle ships will have an independent observer on board feeding back vision and reports to the regulator on a daily basis.
While Littleproud told reporters in Sydney that "no sane human being" would accept animal cruelty, he also said the government needs to support farmers.
"We have got a responsibility to stay and get it right. We have a responsibility to the animals, but also to our farmers."
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There is little to be proud of in the wake of the live export controversy
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