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The issue

Sheep that are exported live from Australia may suffer extreme heat stress, poor conditions, stocking densities that prevent them from all comfortably resting or accessing food or water at the same time, as well as risk of disease, extreme climatic changes and high mortality rates on board, then poor handling and conditions and inhumane slaughter at their destination.

Australia’s poor animal welfare practices for farm animals are creating issues with current trading partners that value higher animal welfare standards. If not addressed, this issue will continue to tarnish Australia’s international reputation and has the potential to impact long-term future trade opportunities. Not to mention the economic impact on farmers being trapped in a declining industry.

Following the 2022 federal election, the future is looking a lot brighter for Australian sheep. The new federal government has committed to phase out live sheep export. And the new Minister has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to end the trade.

Australia is closer than it has ever been to ending live sheep export. To ensure this actually happens, an end date for the trade must be legislated as soon as possible, and before the next federal election

What needs to change

The Federal Government must legislate an end date for live sheep export in this term of parliament.

The trade is unfixable and inherently cruel. The animal welfare issues with live sheep export have been evidenced by contemporary animal welfare science time and time again and the only way to remove these risks is to stop exporting sheep. The basic welfare needs of sheep cannot be met or protected on live export vessels. The risks of this volatile practice simply cannot be addressed with new technology or better management.

It is time for the Australian Government to legislate an end date and better protect the welfare of sheep. It is time for Australia to improve sheep welfare and support farmers to transition out of this declining, unsustainable and unpopular trade for good.

We are at a turning point for Australian sheep. We have a real opportunity to improve the welfare of hundreds of thousands of sheep every year – but the crucial next step is, this term of Parliament, to set an end date.

Take Action

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.