Australia’s RSPCA Renews Call for Live Sheep Export Phase Out

August 28, 2023

Source: Animals Australia
Source: Animals Australia

Animals Australia has again documented live export laws being broken with images of sheep cruelty aired on the ABC on Monday August 28.

The RSPCA says the show provides further proof live sheep export is inherently cruel and unfixable.

Meanwhile, a Parliamentary petition to lock in the end of the practice has been signed by almost 26,000 Australians and is currently the largest open petition by far as well as being in the top 45 most supported e-petitions of all time.

Australia is the only live export nation that has enacted regulations that require exporters to be responsible for animal welfare during the journey overseas and up to the point of slaughter.

It was evidence gathered by Animals Australia investigators that forced regulations that require animals to be kept within approved supply chains. Sheep are not allowed to be transported in utes and car boots or sold for home slaughter.

Yet, the footage aired on ABC from Oman indicates the rules are being ignored, says Animals Australia, with some sellers even confirming they receive a constant supply of Australian sheep – in breach of live export rules.

“We have no doubt that Australians will, once again, be horrified by this latest footage showing the failures of the live export supply chain – just as they have been horrified so many times before,” said RSPCA Australia Chief Science Officer Dr Suzie Fowler.

“Sadly, this is the latest in a long and tragic history of evidence that highlights what we have long known – that live sheep export is beyond salvation, and that the Federal Government has made the right decision by committing to phase it out.

“One of the most severe and serious issues with live sheep export is that Australian animal welfare laws cannot protect sheep in international jurisdictions. What this footage shows is what that looks like in reality, with Australian sheep suffering terribly in their last moments of life - breathing rapidly, distressed and struggling against restraints as they are left in the baking sun in a new, strange and terrifying environment – there’s no question these animals are suffering.

“Pre-slaughter stunning is standard practice in Australia to reduce the pain, suffering and distress experienced by sheep – but when sheep are exported live, Australia has no say on the slaughter techniques used overseas. And that’s all on top of the litany of cumulative animal welfare risks that sheep have already faced throughout the journey to reach this point.

“That’s why the only way to protect more Australian sheep from facing this cruelty is to phase out the live sheep export trade as soon as possible. For that reason, the RSPCA once again calls for a swift and orderly phase out, over a period of no more than three years from the passage of legislation.”

In June, the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) advised that efforts to secure supply chains remains ongoing in Oman following allegations made by Animals Australia. “Animals Australia has made it clear that it will have operatives on the ground in Oman during Eid. ALEC fully expects that Animals Australia will make further allegations to [Department of Agriculture, Firsheries and Forestry] DAFF about the treatment of Australian animals during Eid, linked to the earlier allegations. Should further allegations be made, exporters are committed to working with DAFF as the industry’s regulator as it continues to investigate the situation in Oman.”

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