A summer ban on livestock exports has been suggested by Western Australia's agriculture minister after video emerged showing sheep dying in extreme heat and filth on a Middle East-bound vessel.
About 2400 sheep died on the August voyage from Fremantle and the company behind that shipment, Emanuel Exports, must provide evidence of airflow improvements before their latest vessel will be allowed to leave port.
Also, an independent advisor will be on board the ship, which is due to leave this week, and will report back to the regulator with daily footage.
The WA industry represents about 75 per cent of Australia's live export trade and the state government says it's time for the industry to lift its game.
Alannah MacTiernan instructed the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to investigate the case in February, and is now calling for the summer ban and also the phasing out of older live export ships.
She says the department believes it has prima facie evidence of state animal welfare law breaches, with penalties including company fines of up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison for individuals.
Ms MacTiernan says she has repeatedly complained to the federal government about standards in the industry but it has had "its head in the sand".
"Less than two weeks ago, the federal government produced a report that basically whitewashed what happened on that vessel," she told reporters on Monday.
She said that was "an exact replica of what had happened" when the federal government investigated the death of an estimated 3000 sheep from heat stress on an Emanuel Exports journey to the Middle East in 2016.
The mortality rate on the August shipment was 3.76 per cent, almost double the Australian standard of two per cent.
WAFarmers livestock division president David Slade said he didn't even think the two per cent attrition rate was acceptable.
Representatives will meet with federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud on Tuesday to offer suggestions on how to take control of the supply chain and stop the suffering, Mr Slade says.
He says it may be necessary to air condition the ships.