Ban on live sheep exports slammed as shortsighted by farmers

NSW Farmers has slammed the Federal Government’s shortsighted ban on live sheep exports by sea, saying it would have far-reaching consequences.

The bill prohibiting the export of live sheep by sea from Australia from 1 May 2028 passed the Senate on Monday, despite fierce opposition from farmers and industry groups.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said it was a very sad day for democracy with the government cutting off the livelihoods of many rural communities and agricultural industries across Australia, who rely on the trade as a key market tool.

“Many farmers are wondering who is going to be next – it’s live sheep exports today, but we know this will have impacts right across the Australian farming landscape now and into the future,” Mr Martin said.

“Traditionally, live sheep exports by sea have given farmers another market option  to ensure they can get a fair price for their product, so they can keep producing the world-class sheep Australia is so famous for.
“Without this market option, there is no doubt our entire sheep industry will suffer – and domestic demand for fodder and grain may also drop off without this core trade to support it.”

With a measly $107 million dollars in funding provided to assist industry through the ill-conceived phaseout, Mr Martin said the Federal Government had once again failed to support the farmers feeding and clothing the nation.

“These are already tough times for farmers with the Federal Government’s anti-farming policies, and we actually need them to be opening up markets and opportunities for our commodities – not banning them,” Mr Martin said.

“Farmers pull on their boots and produce the healthy plants and animals that feed and clothe our nation, as well as many hungry and cold people around the world – so the Federal Government has a duty to keep our farmers farming, which they have failed at yet again.”

Australian Alliance for Animals spokesperson Dr Jed Goodfellow welcomed the passage of the legislation describing it as a pivotal moment in the history of animal welfare in Australia.

“This legislation has been a long time coming for our members and their two-million-plus supporters who have been calling for an end to this cruel and unnecessary trade for decades,

“The tireless campaigning by advocates, in particular, the groundbreaking investigations by Animals Australia, and the courageous efforts of whistleblowers who risked their careers and more to expose the conditions faced by Australian animals onboard live export vessels, have finally been acknowledged today,

“We thank the Albanese Government for following through with its election commitment and promise to the Australian people, and we thank all members of parliament who voted for compassion and stood on the right side of history,” Dr Goodfellow said.