This Review of the literature examines mortality rates and causes of mortality that occur during the live sheep export process. Mortality rates for sheep exported live by sea have been shown to vary with time of year, port of loading and line and class of sheep. A progressive reduction has been observed in mortality since the industry began in the 1970s.
The objective of this document is to provide a synopsis of existing literature on mortality in the live sheep export trade. Extensive mortality investigations were conducted in the 1980s and 1990s in both Victoria and Western Australia and have consistently identified inanition and salmonellosis as the most common causes of death in sheep exported live by sea. Salmonellosis and inanition were identified as the primary cause of death for more than 75% of mortalities, while other causes of death generally account for less than 10% of mortalities. However, much of this data was collected almost 20 years ago and it is not known if current causes of mortality in the live sheep trade still follow these patterns.