Live sheep exports to resume this week

Australia's live sheep exports to the Middle East will resume this week, but producers will have to foot the bill for new measures introduced to appease importers.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) on Monday said it had granted approvals to three companies to export about 190,000 sheep and 400 cattle to the Middle East region.

DAFF recently stopped approving export licences while it investigated conflicting reports about the health of Australian sheep sent to Bahrain.

A shipment of more than 21,000 sheep was knocked back from the island nation on concerns of scabby mouth disease in some of the animals.

The sheep were sent to Pakistan, where officials said they tested positive for salmonella and actinomyces.

However, Fremantle-based livestock exporter Wellard on Thursday released test results from a world Animal Health Organisation-accredited practice that showed the sheep were disease-free and fit for human consumption.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia chief executive Ron Cullen said the sheep had been given a clean bill of health on several occasions, including in transit, and it "clearly wasn't the case" that the animals were diseased.

The council welcomed the resumption of exports, but the industry's reputation had been damaged, which was being reflected in lower prices.

"We know that the live export industry is very important in terms of returns to producers right across Australia, so pulling the pin on this for a few weeks, we believe we've seen it in the price of livestock," Mr Cullen told AAP on Monday.

"Hopefully, that will pick up quickly."

DAFF said the approvals were granted after exporters promised additional animal health and welfare safeguards were in place.

Exporters must now provide more detail about what they would do if a shipment was delayed or refused unloading; carry extra feed, water and veterinary supplies to allow for diversions and delays; and engage more stock handlers.

Mr Cullen said he was confident the new measures would reduce the chance of shipments being rejected, but they meant extra costs for producers.

He said the obligations would be looked at carefully.

"Whenever you do business, you want to ensure that the regulatory framework within which you operate is efficient, effective and necessary.

"And we'll be asking for a bit of a look - as I'm sure will the exporters - at what's been put in place to double check that the costs that producers are having to pick up because of this are necessary."

It's understood more than 1000 sheep were culled in Pakistan during the export impasse.

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