Why phasing out live sheep exports should be a priority for the next Australian Government

We’re calling on the Australian Government to make animal welfare a priority in the run-up to the Federal Elections of 2019. RSPCA identified three areas of immediate need. Second, commit to phase out the export of live sheep.

Australians witnessed the conditions that sheep endured on live export ships in 2018. Sheep can’t lie down together or have easy access to food and water. Animals are forced to stand or lie in their waste, and they have to endure high temperatures and humidity. They also must move constantly on the ship. The majority of sheep suffer on board, and thousands die every year.

The Government’s changes since April 2018 do not provide adequate protection for the welfare of the sheep on this journey.

What is the state of the game?

The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System governs Australia’s live export animals from the time of embarkation until the slaughter. The ESCAS is not able to protect Australian animals against abuse. In the 2015 review of ESCAS, it was found that ‘it’s not known how much non-compliance has been detected and reported.’ The penalties that are imposed when breaches are discovered are always inadequate.

The Livestock Global Assurance Program, proposed by the export industry for livestock, will result in less government oversight over a sector that continues to suffer shocking violations of animal welfare.

The live export industry, despite many attempts and years of failure, has failed to meet the community’s expectations. It has defied Australian laws and refused to accept any effort to improve animal welfare. This industry has lost its social license to operate.

The international market for Australian meat is growing. The Australian economy is boosted by the export of beef to over 50 countries.

The Middle East is currently supplying three times more Australian lamb and mutton than it does live sheep.

Exporting more meat supports regional growth and creates new local jobs.

Why does this concern the Federal Government?

The Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act (Cth) and the Export Control Act (Cth) regulate live exports from the farm to the slaughterhouse in the importing country. Both are federal laws, so federal action is required.

What is the future of HTML0?

  1. The Australian Government must phase out the export of live long-haul sheep within five years.
  2. The Australian Government should immediately reduce the density of animals aboard all ships to half and end the trade permanently during the summer months in the north, which are high-risk. This is from May to October.
  3. The Australian Government must follow all the recommendations in the Moss Review until the export of live sheep is completely phased out, including the creation of an independent inspector-general to supervise the regulator.
  4. The Australian Government should commit to the implementation of a revised version of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock that will improve animal welfare during transport.
  5. The Australian Government must devote more resources to administering the ESCAS. This includes strengthening the role of the Government in investigating non-compliance reports and imposing appropriate sanctions.
  6. The Australian Government must take new measures to increase the share of chilled and frozen meats exported from Australia and decrease that of live animals.


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