Disastrous Live Export of Sheep to be abolished in 4 years

Published 22 May 2024

News that the Live Export of sheep will be phased out by 2028 heralds a welcome end to this horrific practice.

photo credit: The Livestock Collective

Since the early 80s, Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) activists, along with other animal rights groups, have protested the shocking and abusive conditions sheep have endured on these floating barges of death.

With thousands of sheep crammed into massive ships for weeks, barely able to move and often unable to access food or water, many thousands would die on the journey. In hot weather, sheep have been known to ‘cook’ to death in the heat.

above: ALV has been protesting against Live Export for many decades. Photos from our Ban Live Export Rally in Melbourne at the Victorian Parliament in 2011

So, good riddance to this terrible trade. However, it’s important to realise this isn’t an end to cruelty to sheep. The Australian government is investing $107 million dollars into the transition, with $64.6 million to “assist sheep producers with capitalising on existing and emerging opportunities” and just $2.6 million toward “improving sheep welfare standards so they meet community expectations”.

The phase-out and eventual ban does not apply to the export of live sheep by air, which will still be permitted. 

Live sheep exports are in decline, making up only 1% of Australia’s sheep trade, so the transition to domestic slaughter is motivated more by profit than concern for animal welfare.

The UK has comprehensively banned the live export of ALL animals, including cows, sheep and pigs, without a phase-out period.

A cruel industry – a sheep who has been ‘mulesed’ without anaesthetic. Image Credit: Patty Mark / Animal Liberation Victoria

With more sheep than ever facing freezing winters, relentless summers, cruel tail docking and mulesing (removal of skin around a sheep’s bottom without anesthesia) and a terrifying end at a slaughterhouse, we have a long way to go – see SheepTruth for more information

The most meaningful way to help sheep and all animals, is to become vegan and avoid all animal products, including wool. There are much kinder ways to keep warm – see our article wool-free winter wears

For free help going vegan, take the 30-day Challenge at veganeasy.org

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