The Federal Department of Agriculture is ‘optimistic’ that the live sheep trade to Bahrain will be able to recommence early this year.
The Department also says its ‘high priority’ negotiations to re-establish a live sheep trade with Iran, for the first time in almost 40 years, are also ‘progressing constructively’.
It’s understood the focus of current discussions is around establishing health protocols for sheep from Australia.
It’s believed the Iranian market for live Australian sheep could be around a million head per year.
Bahrain took approximately 500,000 live sheep per year from Australia until 2012, when Bahrain rejected a shipment on the grounds the sheep were diseased. Australia argued that the sheep should have been accepted according to Memorandum of Understanding in place between the two countries.
That rejection of that shipment lead to around 20,000 sheep being brutally culled in a facility in Pakistan in September 2012, in an incident condemned by animal welfare groups.
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture says discussions between Australia and Bahrain about reopening the live trade are continuing.
“The department is optimistic that trade will be able to recommence early this year,” the spokesperson said.