Around 3 in 4 Australians want to end live export, and more than 9 in 10 want to see long-haul live export standards improved so all animals can lie down and access food and water easily.
Those are among the findings of an independent poll, commissioned by RSPCA Australia and conducted last week among a representative sample of 1,500 Australians nationwide.
The poll also found almost 7 out of every 10 Australians in rural/country areas and towns also want to end live exports, and more people in rural and country towns than anywhere else (just under 95%) are concerned over the inadequacy of current standards.
“More than 9 in 10 Australians want to see a level of improvement in conditions for sheep that can only be accomplished by halving stocking density – that’s the clear position that’s backed by the scientific evidence,” said RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer Dr Bidda Jones.
“What’s interesting though, is this concern over standards and opposition to live export is consistent – and in some cases, greater – across rural and country areas, Australia’s traditional farming communities,” she said.
“This data absolutely flies in the face of industry excuses, that opposition to live exports is centred in city areas and among people with no direct experience of farming,
“That’s simply not true,” said Dr Jones.
Opposition to live exports was strongest in South Australia (4 in 5), and also strong in Western Australia (almost 7 in 10), from where most live exported sheep are sourced.
The poll also found that a nationally, more than 3 in 4 Australians agreed with government providing financial support to farmers to stop live exporting animals.
The findings come as the RSPCA has this week renewed its call for halving of the stocking density on all future live sheep shipments, and an end to all exports into the searing Middle Eastern climate between May and October.
“These are the most urgent priorities, and are essential to protect the welfare of sheep already destined for the export trade,” said Dr Jones.
“However, these immediate measures must also form part of a longer-term plan to end live sheep exports, and protect Australian animals from this volatile and high-risk trade altogether,” she said.
Tens of thousands of Australians are continuing to express their fury over live exports at liveexport.rspca.org.au/take-action.
* Survey questions commissioned by RSPCA Australia and asked as part of an independent omnibus poll conducted by The Digital Edge between Monday 16 and Friday 20 April 2018. Total sample size of n=1500 people, weighted to reflect the population.