THE live export industry cannot guarantee another inhumane Pakistan-style incident won't happen again.
Three researchers, who spoke at a briefing organised by the Australian Science Media Centre last week, conceded the Pakistan sheep cruelty case could be repeated.
The briefing was organised to give more information on live animal exports after the ABC's Four Corners program on the subject was broadcast this month.
That report showed the inhumane treatment of the sheep which had originally been sent to Bahrain, where they were rejected.
They then ended up in Pakistan.
Associate Prof Wayne Pitchford from the University of Adelaide said "things will go wrong again".
"You don't have control over some things ... and situations like that will happen again," he said.
Charles Sturt University researcher Dr Rebecca Doyle said the system "was not perfect".
"We want to make it as close to 100 per cent as we can," she said. "You can never have a 100 per cent guarantee about anything but by improving ways ... you can guarantee that you can get as close to perfect as you can."
All three researchers spoke of the gains made in animal welfare, including work done to ensure Australian animals were well treated when they were exported.
They said this was helping improve animal welfare standards across the world.
University of Melbourne director of animal welfare Prof Paul Hemsworth said the live export issue needed to be put into perspective.
"Do we ask pet shop owners to give a guarantee that animals they sell are well treated?" he said.
The briefing also discussed the Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme, the system designed to protect animals when they are exported.
The scheme was in place for the sheep that ended up in Pakistan, but did not prevent their inhumane treatment.