International markets difficult

While for many products Australia's isolation has made accessing international markets difficult. However for our rural industry , it has also brought some benefits. The natural barriers of the sea, and the fact that no cloven-footed animals were present prior to European settlement, have kept Australia free from most major livestock diseases. This has allowed Australia to remain free of the major diseases that afflict the livestock of many countries (ie, BSE).

This offers enormous benefits to Australia's primary producers, both in terms of reduced production costs and also ability to export. Australia's excellent health status means that compared with most other countries, the export of livestock is relatively straightforward. Australian Sheep Livestock Export Australia is the largest sheep livestock exporting country in the world, exporting annually around 6. 1 million sheep. Current value of these exports stands at AUS $414million. The majority of Live Sheep (98%) travel to over 11 Middle East and North African countries.

International marketing efforts from the Australian Meat & Livestock industry has resulted in strong growth within these foreign markets, in particular the Middle East. Providing a vital source of meat in accordance with consumer specifications and local conditions. Industry Issues As mentioned above the success of Australia's live sheep export over recent years has been as a result of increasingly focusing on the global market. However with this success, Australia has become more reliant on international trade.

Therefore any disruption could severely damage Australia's reputation as a exporter of quality live sheep product and negatively impact our trade performance. (maybe more detail here, on this point???? ). Industry Innovation Industry innovation has contributed too much of the success of Australian live sheep export. Such innovation has been devoted to achieving an efficient production process that produces a high quality product, which has proven to internationally competitive. This extends from flock management to the actual export arrangements and facilities.

Such innovations are demonstrated through the operation of Industry programs and services, including Auditing Services that are operated by AUS-MEAT Commercial Services. This group operates within the Australian Meat and Livestock industry and has auditors strategically based throughout Australia. All auditors are qualified ISO 9000 auditors registered with the Quality Society of Australasia (QSA) and are trained to audit livestock enterprises accredited in the following schemes: Flockcare

Is an on-farm system designed to assist farmers meeting the required Quality Assurance standards for live sheep export. Specifically Flockcare is directed at achieving a system of 'proven responsibility' that takes into account: Food safety, chemicals and residues Animals health, husbandry and welfare * Preparation, presentation and transport LEAP The Livestock Export Accreditation Programme is an industry based quality assurance scheme initiated by the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC), and operated by LiveCorp. Accreditation to LEAP is a condition of Livestock Export License.

This scheme ensures that export product reach their destination in premium condition. It determines specifications of specialised livestock carriers (density of shipments), feed requirements, ventilation, and care of the animals to the destination concerned. NSQA The National Saleyards Quality Assurance program, was developed to underpin the National Standard for the Construction and Operation of Australian Saleyards. This standard seeks to maintain the integrity of Saleyards as an integral part of the Livestock Production and Processing Industry in Australia.

Livecorp The Australian Livestock Export Corporation Ltd (Livecorp) was established in 1998 as part of a restructuring of institutional arrangements in the Australian meat and livestock industry. Livecorp is owned, funded and controlled by livestock exporters with the principal function of managing the direction and delivery of industry funded programs and services. Additionally, Livecorp ensures that the self-regulation policies of the live export industry are implemented. Livecorp is funded by voluntary contributions from members based on numbers exported.

Why do we export live Sheep Cultural requirement of Middle Eastern countries require the slaughtering of animals in strict adherence to Islamic Shari'ah. Australian meat works can slaughter livestock in accordance with the religious requirements of our markets. In fact 5 abattoirs in Australia have Halal approved programs. Halal meat products produced are done so under the supervision of certified Muslim slaughtermen and inspectors. Halal meat must be segregated from non-Halal meat and accompanied by a Halal Certificate

The need for trade in live animals arises because some markets do not have the necessary refrigeration and other infrastructure to transport and store meat safely. Livestock therefore needs to be slaughtered near where the meat is consumed. In some markets, customers also have a strong cultural preference for freshly slaughtered meat. International Marketing of Live Sheep, Export Strategy Put stuff in here relating to subject outline, and strategy of MLA ie, regional offices