Sheep Live Export

Page last updated: Monday, 31 August 2020 - 4:33pm

The live export trade of sheep from Western Australia is worth $136 million (2019). The industry is undergoing significant change and industry and government are working cooperatively to improve transport, handling and animal welfare outcomes. Information on the industry can be found here.

DPIRD information on the latest developments

The industry

In 2019 WA exported 1.0 million live sheep to nine countries, mostly in the Middle East, worth A$136 million. The three largest markets by volume were Kuwait (35%), Qatar (25%) and Jordan (19%).

Pie chart illustrating the top 5 live export destinations in 2018 and 2019
WA live sheep export markets in 2018 and 2019 by quantity (Based on ABS data, DPIRD analysis)

Nationally, 1.1 million sheep were exported live from Australia in 2019, valued at $143 million. This is a 43% decline when compared to 2017, which is largely due to the industry imposed pause during the Northern Hemisphere summers of 2018 and 2019. 

The majority of Australia's live export sheep come from WA, and the proportion of Australia’s live export sheep sourced from WA has increased over the last decade. In 2009 WA accounted for 72% of Australian live sheep exports, but this increased to 86% in 2017 as exports from other parts of Australia declined more rapidly than those from WA. In 2019 it increased to 97%.

Chart illustrating the number of live sheep exports from Australia and WA between 2009 and 2019
Australian and Western Australian live sheep exports by quantity (Based on ABS data, DPIRD analysis).