Independent MP Andrew Wilkie wants to completely stamp out the live animal trade amid more concerns about the treatment of Australian sheep in Middle Eastern markets.

The agriculture department is investigating complaints from Animals Australia about sheep being sold in non-approved markets in Jordan and Kuwait.

The department says the complaints come ahead of the Islamic festival Eid, which is a high-risk time for non-compliance with Australian live export rules.

Animals Australia has given the department evidence of thousands of Australian sheep being sold for sacrifice through private markets in Jordan.

Campaign director Lyn White says they are supply chain breaches and come four months after the organisation gave the department evidence of widespread illegal on-selling of Australian sheep in the area.

"I was shocked to see that just months after reporting this situation to (the Agriculture department), the complete disregard of Australian regulations has only increased, with over 30 roadside merchants observed, over two days, selling Australian sheep," she said on Monday.

"Disturbingly, the only response to our complaint in June has been the mass removal of ear tags from Australian sheep in what appears to be an attempt to prevent the exporter being identified."

In Kuwait, the organisation says it saw hundreds of Australian sheep being sold at the Al Rai livestock market, in breach of Australian regulations.

The department has written to all exporters to Jordan and Kuwait asking them to detail what extra measures they will put in place to make sure Australian livestock are only sold in approved markets.

It has also contacted Jordanian and Kuwaiti authorities and advised all exporters of the increased potential for animals being processes outside approved supply chains during Eid.

Mr Wilkie says the latest revelations are as predictable as they are shocking.

He will reintroduce legislation when parliament resumes to completely ban the live animal trade.

The Australian Greens have pledged similar legislation and also want to set up an independent office of animal welfare.

Senator Lee Rhiannon says the current system is unworkable because "the humane slaughter of Australian animals cannot be controlled from a desk in Canberra".

 

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