• Breaking news: Australia’s live sheep export will end in 2028

    April 19, 2024


    Australian sheep being loaded onto ship as part of live export industry. Animal Friendly Life writes about the petition by RSPCA and other Australian animal welfare organisations to end live export.


    Update 11 May 2024: In breaking news, the government today announced that Australia’s live sheep export will end in 2028. The set date is 1 May 2028, with legislation enacting the phase out to be introduced in this term of Parliament.

    Federal Minister for Agriculture, Murray Watt, made the announcement today, following years of campaigning by animal welfare organisations to see an end to the trade.

    Read our previous news article on the overwhelming support for a live export ban: online now



    The government had made an election commitment to the Australian public to legislate the date for live export to stop.

    “We are giving certainty to sheep producers and the supply chain by legislating the date, and putting $107 million on the table to enable an orderly and well-planned transition away from the trade,” Minister Watt said.

    “This is a comprehensive package that will assist to strengthen supply chains, develop market opportunities and improve animal welfare.”

    Minister Watt said the government was taking these measures to protect the welfare of Australian sheep. “The community expects Australia to have the world’s best animal welfare practices,” Minister Watt said.

    “I understand that some in the community will want to see the trade stopped tomorrow, and others not at all.

    “As a government we have taken the time to get this right.

    “This approach strikes the right balance, based on extensive industry and community consultation – including a detailed report from the independent panel, which we are releasing today.”

    RSPCA Australia responds to the end of live export date announcement

    The RSPCA says it strongly welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of a clear plan and timeline for phasing out live sheep export from Australia.

    The animal welfare organisation says the news is “hailing the beginning of a better future for Australian sheep.”

    “A swift and orderly phase out of live sheep export, with appropriate measures to safeguard animal welfare in the meantime, is the right decision for Australian sheep and Australian farmers,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell.

    “We congratulate the Government for listening to the science and the Australian community and for outlining a clear plan for phasing out this cruel and unfixable industry – including funding a transition package in the upcoming Budget.

    “There has been an extensive consultation process involving every part of the live sheep export supply chain. Now, we have a clear way forward.

    “The Government knows – and the majority of Australians know – that live sheep export is unsustainable, unjustifiable, and completely unnecessary in modern Australia.

    “We have already seen a significant expansion of the boxed and chilled meat industry in Australia and this package includes a focus on continuing that expansion. The future of the sheep industry in Australia is a more modern and sustainable one.

    “Now’s the time to pick up these recommendations and put them into legislation – creating a better future for Australian sheep and giving much-needed certainty to Australian farmers.”

    → Read RSPCA’s full media release here

    Original article: 19 April 2024

    A group of Australian animal welfare organisations are joining forces to urge the Government to commit to a date to end live export.

    RSPCA Australia yesterday released an open letter that was written by 11 animal protection organisations.

    RSPCA Australia and 10 other animal protection organisations have issued an open letter to the Albanese Government. The letter urges the government to deliver on its election promise to legislate a date to phase out live export.

    The call comes nearly six months after the independent panel’s report was delivered to the Government. And only two months after the controversy surrounding the live export ship MV Bahijah, which again put the controversial industry in the headlines.

    RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell says the delay is disappointing given how many Australians are against the industry.

    “Australians were relieved when the Albanese Government took this promise to the 2022 federal election,” says Mussell.

    “Including 78% of Australians who support a phase out if affected farmers were provided with assistance to transition.”

    Independent panel’s report into Australian live export industry

    We previously wrote about RSPCA Australia’s submission to the independent panel advising the Federal Government. The submission was on how to implement a phase out of Australian live sheep export.

    The organisation included 17 recommendations, including a maximum three-year time frame for the phase out.

    Read the RSPCA’s full submission here

    Mussell says it’s particularly disappointing that the government has had six months to consider the independent panel’s report.

    “Nearly two years into the Government’s term, and there’s still no plan for how this cruel and unfixable trade will be phased out,” he adds.

    “Why not? Why the delay? The community wants and expects this phase out to take place as soon as possible.

    “We know that a phase out of live sheep export is the only way forward. This trade, which has seen disaster after disaster, is simply unfixable. The animal welfare issues are cumulative and inherent and cannot be adequately addressed by regulation.”

    The live export ship MV Bahijah where thousands of sheep and cattle were stuck for months, increasing the calls to end live export.
    The live export ship MV Bahijah with cattle and sheep stuck on board (image supplied)

    Mr Mussell says a phase out must be legislated before the next budget.

    “Every year the trade continues is another year that hundreds of thousands of sheep unnecessarily suffer,” he adds.

    “No wonder so many animal protection organisations, including the RSPCA, have come together to publish this open letter today. It is time for the government to take action.

    “We’re deeply concerned and call on the Government to listen to the community and legislate the end date.”



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