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The decision to re-export thousands of animals on the ill-fated MV Bahijah – subjecting them to the longest planned and approved live sheep export journey in recent memory - is a dark day in the history of this cruel and unfixable trade, said the RSPCA. 

RSPCA Australia Chief Science Officer Dr Suzie Fowler said that the decision, which has been confirmed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, means that these animals will now be forced to endure another gruelling sea journey via the Cape of Good Hope. 

“This is on top of what they’ve already been through, with an aborted journey to the Middle East and back, not to mention several days sitting off the coast of Western Australia,” said Dr Fowler. 

“We know that live export poses cumulative and unacceptable welfare risks to sheep – and this will be especially the case for these sheep who have suffered a circuitous, and most of all, completely unnecessary, journey. 

“In fact, this will be the longest planned and approved live export journey for sheep in recent memory.” 

“With the Bahijah, Australians have seen the horrors of the live sheep export industry in our own backyard – and they’ve said enough is enough. 

“If ever there was proof that live sheep export is inherently chaotic, risky and unpredictable, this is it.” 

Dr Fowler said that this whole saga has shown that the industry’s definition of ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ animal welfare is very different from what animal welfare science tells us. 

“In what world is it acceptable to keep animals standing in their own waste for 30+ days? 

“In what world is it acceptable to force them to endure motion sickness, heat stress and constant noise and light? 

“And in what world is it acceptable to, just weeks later, make them do it all again?” 

“This re-export application should never have been approved. But more importantly, this trade should not be allowed to continue any longer. 

“It is time – beyond time – that the Federal Government laid out its plan for legislating an end date to this unacceptable and unnecessary trade. 

"It can’t be fixed. It will never be fixed. The only acceptable outcome is to end it.” 

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