A decision to cancel the export licence of Emanuel Exports has put the future of the live sheep trade under a cloud after, says the Pastoralists and Graziers Association.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said its decision to cancel the licence is "in the best interests of the industry and for the protection of Australia's high standards of animal welfare and health."
Emanuel Exports had its licence suspended earlier this year after footage revealed up to 2,500 sheep had died from heat stress on a trip to the Middle East last year.
In late May, the department sent a show-cause notice to Emanuel Exports, and it is understood the company responded with a 30-page statement.
Emanuel Exports says it will appeal the Department’s decision and is "committed to maintaining the highest animal welfare standards."
PGA President Tony Seabrook says the cancellation will have a huge impact on live export trade.
"Because 80 per cent or more was the share that Emanuel had — it's going to be very difficult for anyone to step up and fill that gap," he told ABC News.
LSS was the only company in WA that had indicated it could operate under current regulations, he said.
Middle East remains a key market
"We are going to have a very rocky road ahead of us – 1.7 million sheep normally leave the state in a year and when the largest exporter is out of the game, we have a huge market in the Middle East, it's going to be very hard to supply.
"The way forward is far more clouded than it ever was."
However, Mr Seabrook said the industry still had a future exporting to the Middle East.
"There's a market over there that pays a premium price (and) Australia is well placed to provide a product that the Gulf wants, requires, needs," he said.
"Just because the licence has been cancelled, it doesn't mean other people can't apply for a licence.”
Meanwhile, the majority of the 60,000 sheep which were being held in a feedlot after they were blocked from being exported by Emanuel out of Fremantle, have gone to local abattoirs.