The RSPCA says it will be closely monitoring the welfare of 56,000 sheep left stranded by the live export industry after a COVID-19 virus breakout aboard the Al Kuwait that docked in Fremantle on Friday.
The RSPCA has also expressed its concern for the affected workers, many of whom work under notoriously difficult conditions on board live export ships.
These sheep should be well cared for in the Australian feedlot while alternative local markets are found through West Australian abattoirs.
Under no circumstances should exemptions from regulations prohibiting the export of sheep between 1 June and 14 September be granted to accommodate this consignment.
This would subject the sheep to unacceptable levels of heat stress and death due to extreme heat and humidity in Middle Eastern waters at this time of year.
The RSPCA will also be wary of any efforts by exporters that place animal welfare at risk, including any rush to alternative live export markets, or seeking any extension to export animals during the prohibited June to September period.