No 'knee-jerk' response on sheep report

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

There will be no "knee-jerk" reaction to the live sheep export trade report, which a cabinet minister says won't immediately be made public.

A report by livestock veterinarian Michael McCarthy is now with the government, but its findings and recommendations are yet to be released.

"The key thing we would like to avoid is making the same mistake as has been made in the past, as has been made by the former Labor government and seemingly repeated by the Labor opposition today, and that is not to make a knee-jerk response here," Resources Minister Matt Canavan told ABC radio on Wednesday.

The report went to cabinet this week but it is unclear why Agriculture Minister David Littleproud did not release it as planned on Wednesday morning.

"What did cabinet actually talk about last night? Did David Littleproud take something to cabinet that went too far or didn't go far enough?" Labor frontbencher Jenny McAllister said.

"People really, really want the government to do something about this, but yet again they're seeing delays."

Senator McAllister said it was a high-risk time for live sheep exports in the northern hemisphere, and the industry can't guarantee the welfare of animals during this period.

Mr Littleproud commissioned the report into live sheep exports after horrific footage was released showing sheep dying on a ship from Western Australia to the Middle East in 2016.