WA may still ban sheep exports in summer

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan says live sheep exports may still be banned in summer

Live sheep exports to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer may still be banned by the West Australian government despite the commonwealth rejecting the idea.

A review by livestock vet Michael McCarthy made 23 recommendations, including reducing the number of animals on ships by up to 28 per cent to allow more space, which the federal government will adopt.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan welcomed the improvements but described it as a "Pyrrhic victory", adding a summer ban was the only way to guarantee welfare standards, restore credibility in the industry and ensure its longevity.

Ms MacTiernan said she would look into state legal powers under WA's Animal Welfare Act and make a decision by the end of next week at the latest.

"It's going to be quite complex but we will act, if we have an obligation to act," she told reporters in Perth on Thursday.

WA Farmers president Tony York said any ban on live exports would have a detrimental impact on producers, but added the industry must work hard to assure the Australian public animal welfare was paramount.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association WA president Tony Seabrook told 6PR radio the changes went beyond anything occurring elsewhere in the world.

"If the rabid animal activists are not happy with this they will never be pleased."

But Ms MacTiernan said farmers were failing to understand the level of public disquiet.

"If we had a reduction and a pause on trade it would have a short-term impact on prices, but I ask the farmers to consider this: What would you rather, a short-term impact of a summer pause or the long-term impact of losing the trade all together?" she said.

"I do urge the farmers to think strategically. Sometimes you have to take a step back to be able to reposition yourself (and) rebuild credibility."

Nationals WA leader Mia Davies said Ms MacTiernan had an "appalling attitude" that would further fuel the uncertainty she created in the industry.

"Let industry get on with the job of adjusting to the new operating environment."