Animal activists are taking the federal government and an export company to the Federal Court to block an export permit for a Middle East-bound ship.
A load of 58,000 sheep left Western Australia last week on board a WA-based Emanuel Exports ship headed for the Middle East.
But Animals Australia will argue in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Thursday that the export licence granted by the Department of Agriculture was unlawful.
The permit requires certain conditions be met before it's granted, including that the department secretary or a delegate be satisfied the health, welfare and physical needs of sheep will be met and maintained, and that travel arrangements are adequate.
"Animals Australia's position is that, in light of the conditions required to be met, it is impossible to understand how any decision-maker acting reasonably, could have arrived at the decision to approve this export permit," legal counsel Shatha Hamade says.
The legal action follows Animals Australia's release of footage showing livestock in horrific conditions on Middle East-bound ships.
That led to a review of live sheep exports during the Middle East summer, which began this month, and calls for the trade to be banned.
Australian Associated Press