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The RSPCA has welcomed the inclusion of funds in the 2024-25 Federal Budget for Australia to transition away from live sheep export.

The Budget contains $107 million over five years, including funds to assist producers and the supply chain to transition away from live sheep export as well as funds to implement the transition itself.

This also includes $2.6 million to improve sheep welfare standards and for Australia’s engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health, both welcome measures.

“We were heartened to see the Government’s announcement on the weekend that live sheep export will end on 1 May 2028, and that legislation will be introduced this term of Parliament,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell.

“We were also pleased to see that the Government will fund practical and tangible measures to assist producers and the supply chain to transition away from this trade.

“It’s good to see that funding confirmed in tonight’s Budget – yet another step that will help to give Australians certainty.

“We have long called for a transition package, including in our submission to the independent panel.

“Australians not only support a phase out of live sheep export, but they also want to see farmers and others in the supply chain supported through the transition. That is exactly what this funding will do.

“Live sheep export cannot be fixed. It is a trade that causes extreme suffering.

“We must not forget the past few decades which have demonstrated, time and time again, extremely poor sheep welfare outcomes despite regulatory changes over the past few years.  The only way forward is to phase out the trade, and we are pleased that the Federal Government is funding a pathway to do so.

“We look forward to seeing an end date legislated as soon as possible, so Australia can move towards a better future for our sheep, our farmers and more sustainable trade.”

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71% of West Australians, including 69% in rural and regional WA, support the Government’s plan to phase out live sheep export (McCrindle, 2023)

Over 43,000 Australians signed a petition calling for a legislated end date to live sheep export this term of Parliament – one of the largest parliamentary e-petitions in Australia’s history (2023).

For more information and the cumulative and inherent animal welfare impacts of live export on sheep, read here.

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