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The RSPCA has welcomed the tabling of the federal Minister for Agriculture's response to one of the largest Australian parliamentary e-petitions in history, calling for an end to live sheep export.

The response to the petition, which secured nearly 44,000 signatures in August 2023, confirms the Government is firmly committed to an orderly phase out of the cruel and unfixable live sheep export trade.

“The Federal Government is on the right side of history,” said RSPCA Australia Chief Science Officer Dr Suzie Fowler.

“We welcome confirmation today that the Government remains committed to phasing out live sheep export – because the reality is that the trade simply cannot be fixed.

The petition – one of the largest parliamentary e-petitions in Australia’s history – shows that the Australian community do not and will not accept this trade continuing any longer.

“Add to that the fact that the majority of Australians, including 71% in Western Australia and 69% in rural and regional WA, support the phase out, and there can be no doubt that Australia supports the Government's intention to implement a phase out of live sheep export by sea.”

Dr Fowler said that the Government must act swiftly to introduce legislation in this Parliamentary term to ensure the end of the trade is embedded in law before the next federal election.

“Now that the independent panel has provided their report to Government, there should be no impediment to introducing and passing legislation as soon as possible in this term.

“Legislating the end date in this term of Parliament is the only way to improve welfare for Australian sheep, meet the community’s expectations, and provide certainty for Australian farmers.”

The Minister’s response can be viewed here (on page 61).

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