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No further delays on live sheep export phase out

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Thursday, 18 April 2024

An open letter released today has called on the Albanese Government to deliver on its election promise and legislate an end to live sheep export.

The call, from the RSPCA and 10 other Australian animal protection organisations, comes nearly six months after the independent panel’s report was delivered to the Government — with still no plan for how and when live sheep export will be phased out.

“Australians were relieved when the Albanese Government took this promise to the 2022 federal election,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell. “They know how deeply unacceptable live sheep export is, including 78% of Australians who support a phase out if affected farmers were provided with assistance to transition.”

“But now here we are, nearly two years into the Government’s term, and there’s still no plan for how this cruel and unfixable trade will be phased out.

“Why not? Why the delay? The community wants and expects this phase out to take place as soon as possible — especially now that the Government has had nearly six months to consider the independent panel’s report.

“We know that a phase out of live sheep export is the only way forward. This trade, which has seen disaster after disaster, is simply unfixable. The animal welfare issues are cumulative and inherent, and cannot be adequately addressed by regulation.”

Mr Mussell said that while the RSPCA acknowledged the trade itself wouldn’t end before the 2025 federal election, a phase out must be legislated before then and funding to support the transition included in the May budget.

“Every year the trade continues is another year that hundreds of thousands of sheep unnecessarily suffer.

“No wonder so many animal protection organisations, including the RSPCA, have come together to publish this open letter today. It is time for the government to take action.

“We’re deeply concerned about the delay and call on the Government to listen to the community, and legislate the end date this year.”

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