Sheep that are live-exported from Australia suffer extreme heat stress, poor handling conditions, stocking densities that prevent them from comfortably lying down or accessing food or water, as well as risk of disease and high mortality rates on board, and extreme changes in climatic conditions.
This is worst when sheep are exported to, and through, the Middle East by sea during the hot northern summer.
In 2018, shocking footage of sheep suffering on board a long-haul live export boat, the Awassi Express, was aired on 60 Minutes. Knowing the history of live export tragedy, we weren’t surprised, but we were still outraged – as were you. The resulting significant public pressure on the Federal Government finally led to a prohibition on live sheep export to, and through, the Middle East from 1 June to 14 September every year.
Now, the Government is reviewing the legislation. While the Government still supports a continued prohibition on live sheep exports, recommendations for the review propose an overall reduction to the prohibited period – a move that would see more sheep exported to some of the hottest places on earth, at some of the hottest times of the year.
We’re particularly concerned that the draft report proposes to reduce the prohibition periods to Middle East destinations where over 85% of Australian sheep are sent (Kuwait, Qatar and Red Sea destinations). We know that sheep are highly vulnerable to heat stress on these long, hot voyages – so for Australia to send even more sheep to face these extreme risks is just unacceptable.
What needs to change
We know the northern summer prohibition was never enough – at the very least it should cover the hottest times of the year including May to October. So you might also like to let the Government know that you want to see the prohibition extended – not reduced.
While we continue to advocate for an end to live export, we cannot let the Government or the industry double-back on prior commitments to improve animal welfare within the trade.
Saturday, 13th June 2020
Live export boiling point: RSPCA in disbelief over exemption backflip RSPCA Media Release
Wednesday, 3rd June 2020
RSPCA welcomes decision to uphold live export law and spare sheep from dangerous live export journey RSPCA Media Release
26th May 2020
RSPCA statement on Al Kuwait live sheep export COVID-19 outbreak RSPCA Media Release
2nd April 2020
Disappointing live export outcome reveals cruel and inconvenient truth
Review of Live Sheep Export to Middle East during Northern Hemisphere Summer – January 2022 RSPCA Resource
Timeline of Tragedy RSPCA Knowledgebase
Why is the RSPCA opposed to the live export trade? RSPCA Knowledgebase
What are the standards of animal welfare onboard live export ships?
Live exporters have had chance after chance, and they’ve continually failed community expectations and disrespected our laws - bringing embarrassment upon the government and international shame upon our farmers. Enough is enough.
Please write to your MP now and urge them enforce our existing live export regulations. Your email will also be sent to the Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture.