Animal welfare group claims phase out of live sheep exports will value add to local supply chains

Animal welfare group, the Australian Alliance for Animals, has welcomed the introduction of a new bill to formally legislate the phase out live sheep exports in Australia, claiming it would end the suffering endured by tens of thousands of animals each year.

Alliance spokesperson, Dr Jed Goodfellow, described the transition away from live sheep exports as an opportunity to be embraced by all parties.

“The phase out of live sheep exports makes sense from every angle,” he said.

“It would strengthen rural economies through increased investment and value-adding in local supply chains via the chilled meat export trade, create new jobs and provide producers with a profitable and secure income stream.

“Transitioning to the chilled and frozen lamb and mutton trade will spare thousands of Australian sheep from being forced to endure the arduous conditions of a long sea journey, and the fear and pain of being slaughtered without stunning in the Middle East,” Dr Goodfellow said.

While the Federal Labor Government made a commitment to end live sheep exports at the 2022 federal election, it is yet to publicly release a transition plan that includes clear legislative timelines.

Dr Goodfellow said any further delays to announcing the phase-out date will put the welfare of tens of thousands of animals at risk.

“We only have to look at what just happened with the 15,000 sheep on the MV Bahijah, which was forced to return to Western Australia due to safety concerns in the Red Sea, to be reminded of the inherent risks of the live sheep trade. Stranded onboard for 40 days, including during a heatwave, those animals are now facing re-export. The risk of further suffering and death will be even greater if they are forced back onto the ship for further month of stress and fatigue.​

“The time for action is now. The transition process is already underway and what we’re asking from the Albanese Government is for it to formalise the phase out in legislation.

“Australians overwhelmingly support the Federal Government’s policy to phase out live sheep exports by sea (78%, McCrindle, 2022).

“There’s no excuse for the Federal Government to delay legislating the phase-out date any longer,” Dr Goodfellow said.

Read the submission by the Australian Alliance for Animals of five key recommendations to facilitate a legislated phase-out of live sheep exports.

-Australian Alliance for Animals