The Animals Australia group is planning to seek a court injunction to stop tens-of-thousands of sheep being transported to the Middle East.
The ship, Al Shuwaikh, is at Fremantle awaiting approval to take about 45,000 sheep to Kuwait.
A smaller shipment to the UAE is expected to follow.
Animals Australia legal counsel Shatha Hamade said the welfare of the sheep was of great concern.
“We’re quite perplexed. We are not sure what’s happening and so, unfortunately, we’re going to have to take these urgent and extraordinary measures by basically foreshadowing an injunction if in fact a permit is granted,” Ms Hamade said.
“And this is really about upholding the law.”
The animal protection organisation said if the sheep were loaded and a permit was granted, an injunction would be sought on the grounds it was unlawful.
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said there was less of a heat risk for sheep being transported to the Middle East, because it was dry as opposed to humid.
A subsidiary of company Emanuel Exports, EMS Exports, has lodged an application to begin the voyage.
Tom Dawkins from the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said the animals should not suffer.
“We are not overlooking any risk regarding unloading in Kuwait and UAE, but the drier heat there presents a different set of circumstances to operate in and away from that humidity there is — I think, less of a heat stress risk.”
Clash at protest
Meanwhile, farmers and animal welfare advocates have clashed outside the Perth offices of the scandal-plagued live export company, Emanuel Exports.
York farmer Tony Robinson drove to Perth to counter the protest and said EMS’s permit application was a vital test case for the industry.
“For every bad one of these journeys you hear about or see about there’s been a hell of a lot of good ones and I think the federal ag department ought to stay out of the politics and just make sure it moves smoothly,” Mr Robinson said.