Live sheep export review to be released

Matt Coughlan
A report into the northern summer live sheep export trade is due to be released this week

Live sheep exports to the Middle East are expected to continue during the northern hemisphere summer after the findings of a review into the trade are released.

The federal government is unlikely to recommend a ban on the trade between May and October after a report into the northern summer trade of live sheep is made public on Thursday.

The RSPCA and Australian Veterinary Association are adamant the northern summer trade can't protect sheep from heat stress on voyages to the Middle East during the hottest part of the year.

But the government wants to clean up the industry, which has come under heavy pressure following revelations of animal cruelty, including sheep deaths in stifling conditions.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has foreshadowed tougher penalties for dodgy exporters, including harsher jail sentences and hefty fines.

Stocking density on live export ships also shapes as a key issue.

Livestock vet Michael McCarthy's report comes after Labor signalled increasingly likely support for a rogue Liberal MP's push to end live sheep exports.

Rural NSW backbencher Sussan Ley will introduce a private bill seeking to end the trade to parliament on Monday.

The opposition's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said his party is close to supporting the legislation on the condition the industry's end date is no less than five years away.