Live sheep export: 5 reasons why we need to set an end date
Many things have changed over the past month, and the future of Australian sheep appears much brighter.
As many of you are aware, the new Federal Government took to the May election a plan to eliminate the cruel, unsustainable, ineffective, and unpopular live export of sheep. The newly appointed Minister, over the past few weeks, repeatedly reiterated his determination to stop the trade.
This is an excellent step, and we’re delighted at the RSPCA in the same way that it was well-received by members of the Australian community.
However, there’s a crucial thing that must happen right now. It is the responsibility of the Government to fix a date to end this industry completely and permanently during the current Parliamentary term.
Here are five reasons why setting dates is crucial.
To ensure that it actually takes place.
If the deadline for phasing out the export of live sheep is not ratified prior to the next election in Australia, the next Government could decide not to follow through with the plans. This would not only be the worst thing for the welfare of sheep; it could be a heartbreaking loss for the countless Australians who are concerned about the welfare of animals and would like to see the trade cease.
It doesn’t mean that the trade must stop in 3 years. It is, indeed, that we pushed for a five-year phase-out prior to the elections. However, it means that the legislation needed to allow that to happen to be in place by the end of the current term of Parliament (that is, in the coming three years).
to give farmers confidence
There’s no reason to permit live sheep export. Studies have shown that a lamb processed in Australia can contribute much better to the Australian economy than the live export of the animal. The elimination of exports from live sheep will lead to better welfare for the sheep as well as more employment for Australians.
We recognize the importance of assisting farmers who want to move to other markets and are convinced that it is achievable within an acceptable timeframe. What isn’t going to aid farmers in Australia is the uncertainty about this issue or enslaving them to an unsustainable business. Live sheep exports have been declining for a while, and Australians are aware that it isn’t going to last. Therefore, we are urging the Government to provide certainty and clarity to Australian farmers by establishing an end date to assist in the transition towards the more lucrative meat-only trade.
To safeguard our global reputation
The reputation of Australia on the international stage has been damaged badly as a result of live sheep exports. It’s affecting the image of people from other countries who think of Australia as a modern country that cares about animal welfare and behaves ethically and sustainably.
It’s not surprising that some countries have stopped live exports – such as the UK, which has announced a ban for 2020, as well as New Zealand, which banned live exports for slaughter as early as 2007.
To show concern for the community
Three out of four Australians are in favor of the end of live exports, according to recent polls. This is 2/3 of those living in rural or country regions and nearly 3 out of four Western Australians, where most Australian sheep exports originate from.
In other words, no matter where you go from west to east and from country to city – most Australians oppose the practice. This is why when the Government made it clear prior to the election that they would be removing live sheep exports, the reaction from the public was positive. We also know that the people want to see the commitment enacted. The best way to accomplish this is to establish the date for when it will end in the current Parliamentary term.
Since the issue cannot be fixed.
Live sheep exporters will quickly highlight the ways it has improved the process. They’ll point to modifications to regulations or other changes made aboard vessels or point out particular data, such as mortality rates.
However, the reality is that the trade is unfixable and cruel. The issues with animal welfare that live sheep exports pose are a part of lengthy voyages like this; the only solution to reduce these risks is to stop the trade. The basic needs for the welfare of sheep are not fulfilled or secured through the business since the sheep that live on export vessels are not provided with easy access to water and food and a sufficient space to lay on their backs and rest while having an area to wash far from the pen in which they sleep in and stand in or fresh air. These risks cannot be solved with the help of advanced technology or better management.
Whichever approach you take, the situation is in a tipping direction for the future of Australian sheep. We stand a chance to improve the well-being of thousands of animals each year. But the most important next step is this session of Parliament to establish the date for when it will end.