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The RSPCA has called for a clear way forward on a legislated end date for live sheep export, as federal Cabinet meets in Perth today.

Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation said Cabinet was in a good position to discuss and agree to a roadmap for ending live sheep export today – crucially, with an end date legislated this term of Parliament.

RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell said the events of recent weeks meant a legislated end date was more urgent than ever.

“The chaos of the MV Bahijah has just reminded Australians that this trade can not, and will not, ever be fixed,” said Mr Mussell.

“The Federal Government recognises this, which is why they’ve repeatedly affirmed their commitment to phasing out live sheep export, much to the relief of the wider Australian community, for whom this trade cannot end soon enough.

“But now the independent panel has concluded its work and the Government has had time to consider the panel’s report, it’s time to legislate the end date.

“Prolonged uncertainty about this issue helps no one. It certainly doesn’t help Australian farmers who need to plan for the future.

“If the Bahijah episode has taught us anything, it’s that unpredictability and chaos are not what anyone wants to see when it comes to animal welfare.”

RSPCA Australia Chief Science Officer Dr Suzie Fowler said the RSPCA wanted to see a phase out date within three years from the passage of legislation, with an end date legislated in this term of Parliament.

“To drag out the end of this unfixable trade any longer means unacceptable animal welfare risks, further damage to Australia’s international reputation, and prolonged uncertainty for Australian farmers.”

“A clear way forward from the federal Government will mean they can get on with the job of legislating, and end this cruel, unfixable and outdated trade that 71% of West Australians oppose once and for all.”

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