The Turnbull government is refusing to ban live exports, despite a call from a former cabinet minister to phase out the under-fire trade.
NSW Liberal MP Sussan Ley broke ranks with the government after shocking footage emerged showing sheep dying in horrific conditions on a ship to the Middle East last August.
"Time to pick a date by which all live sheep exports must end. We can work with industry and farmers to make this happen," the former health minister said.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says that's not going to happen.
"The coalition government condemns cruelty to animals and takes animal welfare very seriously, but a ban on the whole industry would only punish those exporters and farmers who have done no wrong," a spokeswoman for Mr Littleproud told AAP on Wednesday.
The industry is under pressure from animal welfare groups after 2400 sheep died on the Emanuel Exports voyage.
Independent senator Derryn Hinch's online petition to ban market expansion and phase out the industry over three years has gathered more than 45,000 signatures.
Senator Hinch says he has support from Liberal, Nationals and Labor MPs to end the trade.
Fellow crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm was outraged by Ms Ley's comments, saying the Liberal Democrats party he leads would run a candidate against her in the country seat of Farrer.
"For an MP to call for such irrational measures to be taken against the constituents who elected her to represent their interests is reprehensible," Senator Leyonhjelm said.
Mr Littleproud has announced a veterinarian-led review into exporting livestock during the northern-hemisphere summer.
He's also commissioned an audit of his own department, but resisted calls for a ban on the trade in northern summer.
Animals Australia's Lyn White said while Mr Littleproud's strong statements were pleasing, it was disappointing the minister had pre-empted the review's outcome by ruling out a summer ban.
"Over recent days, Minister Littleproud has consistently said that these decisions are the domain of the regulator but by pre-empting the outcome of this review, he has effectively taken this decision away from the regulator," Ms White said.
Meanwhile, the ship at the centre of the controversy, the Awassi Express, remains in Fremantle where it needs approval from authorities to embark on its next export trip.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is awaiting confirmation from Emanuel Exports that its ventilation systems have passed third-party testing before the ship will be allowed to set sail.