Dehumidifiers on live animal export ships will not help sweltering conditions for Australian sheep being shipped to the Middle East, a study has found.
Australian Livestock Export Corporation chairman Terry Enright says the organisation's government-funded research shows the devices wouldn't counteract the heat generated by sheep.
"It isn't a practical solution for the industry at this time," he told a hearing in Canberra on Tuesday.
The study found dehumidifiers reduced temperatures and humidity on an empty ship, but were not good enough to help when vessels were filled with sheep.
There's a moratorium on live animal exports during the hottest months of the year to the Middle East.
Nationals senator Sam McMahon questioned where the research project was leading.
"It would seem that for $2 million, that could have involved some actual research with some livestock to answer those questions," she said.
"It's kind of like sailing an empty ship to the Middle East and saying we achieved zero mortalities."
But Mr Enright said less than $1 million had been spent, while putting animals on the ships would have been irresponsible.
"Until we could establish whether dehumidification worked, it would be pointless having livestock on there anyway," he said.
ALEC is also working on a four-year $700,000 research project developing animal welfare indicators for live animal exports, due to finish in 2021.
Senator McMahon criticised the project, saying two years without a single report wasn't good value for money.
"The information that comes out is not worth a cracker if it doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny," she said.
"If it's not published, then there's nothing to indicate there's any value in what came out of the research."
Mr Enright said the objective of the project was to gather information, rather than publish papers.
The live export industry came under intense scrutiny after shocking footage of sheep dying in their own filth during an August 2017 voyage came to light last year.