Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Campaigns and issues

Please see our live export FAQ for detailed answers.

Every year around Australia thousands of healthy young greyhounds are killed as 'waste products' of the profit driven greyhound racing industry. Their only crime: that they were not fast enough to make money on the track.

Worse still is that some of these unwanted dogs are sent to countries where they are forced to race in even worse conditions. Ultimately, even these dogs cannot escape the inevitable reality of this cruel industry: that they will be killed when they can't turn a profit.

Animals Australia is campaigning to expose and end this cruel industry. Through our work we educate the public and encourage people not to bet on cruelty. With strategic campaigns, political lobbying, and through collaborations with other animal welfare groups nationally and internationally, we are working to end greyhound racing and ensure dogs are protected.

Help end greyhound cruelty:

  • Click here to call on your Federal MP to support a ban on the export of greyhounds.
  • Encourage for your friends and family to never to bet on cruelty.
  • Support Animals Australia's work to protect greyhounds and all animals, by making a monthly pledge to end animal cruelty.

Animals Australia focuses its campaign efforts on the areas of greatest need -- this is why factory farming and live export are among our highest priorities, with more than half a billion animals suffering in these cruel industries every year.

Our team of campaigners work hard to keep on top of all the issues affecting animals in Australia but, as a small charity with limited time and resources, we simply cannot act on everything. For this reason we rely on the growing community of animal advocates to speak out for animals and take a stand against cruelty.

Use the Animals Australia website search function to check if we have already taken action on the issue that concerns you. Take a look at our list of Member Societies to see if any of them are doing something about it. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or contact your Federal MP to see where they stand. If your query relates to farm animals then contact the relevant state Minister for Agriculture. 

Most importantly, talk to your friends, family and colleagues about it -- you can raise a tremendous amount of awareness just by utilising your own networks.

The voice of animals is becoming louder and louder as the community grows more aware of their plight and need for protection. Thank you for taking the time to speak on their behalf. Together we can turn this voice into a roar!

Animals Australia has been in operation for over 30 years. During that time we have helped shape animal welfare standards in many different areas, improving the lives of millions of animals. Some recent examples include:

1) Animals Australia’s investigations into the live export trade have led to the government putting in place a system of regulation (ESCAS) which for the first time requires animals to be fully traceable throughout the entire supply chain and to be handled and slaughtered in accordance with OIE guidelines.  While not a complete solution, ESCAS has at least introduced some basic welfare requirements and enables the government to hold live exporters to account for breaches of these rules. Animals Australia's subsequent investigations have been responsible for bringing such breaches to the attention of government.

2) Since 2004, Animals Australia has been conducting an ongoing national public awareness campaign (through print, radio, TV, outdoor and online media) on behalf of animals in factory farms. Rising consumer awareness during this time has led the pig industry to voluntarily restrict the use of sow stalls, and has underpinned moves by retailers to shift away from cage eggs as well as pork/bacon/ham that has been produced in facilities that confine mother pigs in sow stalls. These changes alone will help free millions of animals from cruel confinement. Our public awareness work continues. See www.MakeitPossible.com

3) Through our involvement with the development of Codes of Practice, Animals Australia has been instrumental in pushing for national guidelines to improve the treatment of animals in rodeos, circuses, fishing, feral animal control, and many other areas. Our work has helped to upgrade animal protection legislation in every state since the 1980s.

For a more detailed list of recent achievements please see our track record in animal protection by clicking here.

Animals Australia is an advocacy organisation. We don’t run animal shelters though some of our Member Societies operate companion animal and farm animal rescue groups. We are a peak body representing some 40 other animal welfare groups in Australia, each working in a specific area. Between us all there is very strong representation on companion animal issues from puppy farming to desexing and pet overpopulation.

Animals Australia is, however, working to help end pet overpopulation in a number of ways. You can find out information about our campaign to end puppy farming by clicking here.

We have also recently alerted our supporters in NSW to support changes in legislation to address puppy farming.

Since June 2006 Animals Australia has co-sponsored the biennial National Summit to End Pet Overpopulation and supported a program called 'Getting to Zero' which works to provide an effective model to address pet overpopulation.

You can learn more about how to help companion animals by clicking here.

While we are not a shelter or foster care organisation, a number of our Member Societies are. Many of the Animals Australia staff also foster animals and we recently published an article about some of these animals' stories here in an effort to encourage people to consider fostering animals in need. To find out how you can become a foster carer, read Foster carers: saving lives one snuggle at a time.

As an Australian organisation, most of the work we do is focused on animals in Australia. However, through our investigations into the treatment of animals exported overseas, Animals Australia has helped raise awareness about animal welfare and improve conditions for animals abroad as well. For example, after our investigators exposed horrendous treatment of animals in Jordan, Animals Australia's work in collaboration with the Princess Alia Foundation has now been responsible for the uptake of pre-slaughter stunning in Jordanian abattoirs – for both cattle and sheep. This achievement is a milestone in the Middle East and sets a precedent for other countries in the region to follow.

Before our investigation in Indonesia in 2011, the live export industry said pre-slaughter stunning was an ‘aspirational’ goal only – yet the public pressure that ensued after the exposure of cruelty in that country has resulted in stunning rates rising rapidly. It is only Animals Australia’s exposure of the cruelty that Australia’s live export industry has been prepared to supply animals to that has given importing countries reason to question their treatment of animals, including their own. Our continued supply of Australian sheep and cattle regardless of how they were being treated has only served to reinforce local beliefs that their treatment of animals was acceptable. The only reason car boots and roof racks were deemed an unacceptable way to transport sheep in Bahrain was because Animals Australia exposed it.

Our work on factory farming has been embraced world-wide and provided resources to international animal welfare organisations to tackle these same issues in their own country. Our Make it Possible campaign video for example has so far been translated into Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and Portuguese, and our television advertisement is playing in New Zealand. Animals Australia cares very much about ALL animals but it is leading by example in a developed nation that expects a high standard of welfare that will inspire the greatest change for animals globally.

Animals Australia is an independent not-for-profit organisation. We are also a peak body representing around 40 Australian 'Member Society' groups for whom we provide campaign advice or representation on animal welfare committees and government advisory groups, such as the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. Our (volunteer) Executive committee is comprised of delegates from Member Societies.  Along with the Executive Director, Executive members oversee our organisational management and it's reporting requirements under the Victorian Associations Incorporation Act 1981. You can find further information about our organisational structure by clicking here.  

We occasionally work alongside other organisations to jointly run campaigns in order to double our capacity or reach a greater number of people. A good example of this is through our sponsorship of the Getting to Zero Summit, to support desexing and responsible pet ownership along with the National Desexing Network and the Animal Welfare League of Queensland.

Another example of this is our joint efforts to ban the hunting of all endangered and vulnerable native species along with Bob Irwin and a Coalition of 28 animal welfare and conservation groups.

Animals Australia is an independent not-for-profit organisation and not aligned financially or structurally with any other international organisations.

However, animal cruelty is a global issue. Much of our work traverses borders and Animals Australia is internationally renowned for our investigations and public awareness campaigns. In recognition of our potential to create a world of difference for all animals, in 2014 we established a global arm - Animals International.

Click here to find out how we are working with colleague groups overseas to protect animals from cruelty.

Animals Australia is an animal protection organisation. We exist to represent animals and therefore the issues we cover all relate to animals. Animals Australia is not a 'vegan organisation'. We don't believe it's appropriate to tell anyone what to do or think (or eat, or wear). But we do believe we can provide the information that people need in order to make truly informed choices that are in line with their own values.

You can find a comprehensive explanation of why we operate the way we do in our feature: Cruelty-free advocacy: Animals Australia's approach

Animal Care

Congratulations on choosing to adopt a companion animal! Around 250,000 healthy cats and dogs are euthanised in Australian shelters each year. By making the pledge "to adopt, not buy" you can give someone a second chance at life.

Animals Australia is an advocacy organisation, and so does not facilitate adoptions. However you might want to contact one of the shelters or rescue groups in our list of Member Societies.

Alternatively, visit the Pet Rescue and Rescue Network websites for lists of animals available for adoption around Australia.

If you find an injured wild animal, please call your local wildlife rescue organisation or vet. Some organisations will only operate phones during certain hours so, if the animal needs immediate help please take them to a vet or try contacting another group. Most vets will help wildlife at no cost. You can find a comprehensive list of wildlife care groups on the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife website.

If the animal is a lost companion animal, you have several options:

  • Check for any identifying tags or information on their collar to contact the animal's owners.
  • Call your local vet or animal shelter and ask if they can assist. Many animals will have a microchip under their skin and a vet or shelter will be able to scan the microchip to locate the owners.
  • If the lost animal is injured or unwell, please take them to a vet immediately.

For situations not covered above, please call our office for advice. Please note our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm EST. If it is an emergency situation, please contact your local vet.

Please report what you have seen to the RSPCA in your state as soon as possible.

As Animals Australia does not have the power to investigate or prosecute under the various State animal welfare Acts, you need to report it to those agencies that do. These agencies vary from State to State.

Contact the RSPCA first: Click here to contact them now.

If you are unable to make contact with the RSPCA promptly, an urgent matter should be reported to your local Police station.

There are some incidents of cruelty that may (also) be handled by other agencies:

  • Companion animals:
    Some issues relevant to companion animal businesses (e.g. pet shops, boarding kennels) may be handled by local council officers, and in most states those officers can investigate under the cruelty laws; access your local council website and search for the ranger contact details. Complaints about stray animals and noise levels should also be directed to your local council.
  • Farm animals:
    In most states the government's agriculture or primary industries department will also be authorised to deal with cruelty complaints. Find out how to report cruelty to farm animals by clicking the relevant state link below:
Northern Territory

Queensland

New South Wales

Victoria

Tasmania

South Australia (The RSPCA handles all cruelty complaints in SA)

Australian Capital Territory (The RSPCA handles all cruelty complaints in the ACT)

Western Australia (The RSPCA handles all cruelty complaints in WA except complaints regarding the scientific use of animals)

Helpdesk

Images owned by Animals Australia may only be used with prior express permission, in writing, from Animals Australia. Any application for the use of images should indicate the proposed purpose and manner of use. An 'in principle' approval may be given on receipt of a proposal, but final approval will not be considered or granted until final artwork has been assessed.

Please contact our office to receive a copy of our policy on reproducing images from our website. Emailing us with the above details and linking to the exact image you wish to reproduce will assist us in answering you quickly. Please send requests to

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Fundraising/volunteering

Thank you for wanting to help make our voice for animals the strongest it can be! There are many ways you can help us speak up for animals.

Pledge a gift
Animals Australia's ground breaking investigations and high impact campaigns are underpinned by the donations from caring supporters like you. By pledging a monthly gift to Animals Australia, you will be helping to ensure we can continue to expose animal cruelty and work towards a kinder world for all animals. Click here to become a 'frontliner for the animals' today.

Volunteer
Animals Australia's Action Network is your way to extend the impact of our campaigns, online and offline. Join an active team of like-minded people, working to create real change for animals. From letter writing, to public outreach, to strategic campaign initiatives, there is something that everyone can do to make a difference. If you want to stay in the loop on upcoming opportunities to help out, sign up to the Action Network today.

Order an Action Pack
Click here to order a Ban Live Export action pack.
Click here to order an action pack to help end factory farming.

Spread the word
Too often, cruel practices inflicted on animals are allowed to continue simply because people aren't aware of what's happening. But with your help we can change that! Spread the word about Animals Australia's campaigns to shine a light on animal cruelty and inspire others to make a difference for animals too. Share our campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, tell your friends about us, or even order leaflets to distribute in your community.

Click here for more ideas on how you can speak up for animals in your local community.

Thank you for your interest in working for Animals Australia!

Click here to find out what positions are currently available with Animals Australia. We update this page whenever positions open up, so keep an eye out for new opportunities.

You might also like to find out a bit more about how you can gain valuable experience by volunteering to help animals.

Animals Australia relies on the generous financial gifts of our supporters to continue our important campaign work. Organising your own fundraiser is one way you can help to provide us with this crucial support, and at the same time create greater awareness of Animals Australia's work.

Fundraising for animals online is a fuss-free method of promoting Animals Australia and takes the hassle out of donation collection. Design your own fundraising page, take a challenge, start a gift registry or create a memorial for a loved one. All donations made through your fundraising page go directly to Animals Australia with no middle man involved.

If you would like to hold a fundraising event that falls outside the scope of our online fundraising, please register with our national volunteer group, the Action Network, by clicking here.

Following your Action Network registration, please download our Fundraising Proposal Form. Please send your completed Proposal Form to and we will be in touch as quickly as possible. Please allow sufficient time for us to assess and approve your proposal.

Thanks for offering to help out!

The best way to stay in the loop and support our campaign work is to join the Animals Australia Action Network. Once you have joined the Action Network, keep an eye on your inbox to hear about opportunities to volunteer on Animals Australia stalls, assist in letter writing campaigns, and other important ways you can help.

You might also be interested in doing some DIY Street Campaigning.

Or order an Action Pack to get you started with collecting petitions and raising awareness about our major campaigns.

If you are super keen to get hands-on helping animals, contact one of Animals Australia's Member Societies in your area. These groups are small organisations that work hard for animals and many rely completely on volunteers, so they would love to hear from you!

You can support our important campaign work with your own business by starting an online fundraising page for Animals Australia. Design your page, print your flyer, promote it on your social media sites and tell your customers about it. This is a fun and easy way to let your customers know you care about animals while also raising much needed funds to support Animals Australia. Become an online fundraiser by clicking here.

Want to go a step further? Join the Cage-Free Workplace initiative and join thousands of other workplaces around Australia that have pledged to help free hens from cages. Find out how to make your workplace cage-free by clicking here.

Students

We love hearing from students interested in animal protection! While we would like to help, as a small charity with very limited resources we are unfortunately unable to assist with student assignments.

Nonetheless, you will probably find all the answers to your questions by using the search function on our website.

If you are looking for someone to interview for your assignment, you may wish to contact one of our Member Societies.

The best way to get involved and develop skills in the field of animal advocacy, is to join our national volunteer group the Action Network.

Through the Action Network, our supporter's gain valuable advocacy experience by assisting us with tasks like formal letter writing, holding information stalls, fundraising initiatives and much more. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.

Thank you for your interest in working with us. As we must prioritise our campaign work, unfortunately this means we do not have the capacity to take on work experience students or interns at this time. However we encourage you to consider contacting one of Animals Australia's Member Societies.

Donations/memberships

Did you know that the only animal welfare groups able to claim deductible gift recipient (DGR) status are those working on behalf of endangered species, or groups seen by the Government to be providing a community service, such as pet shelters or pounds?

This means that while Animals Australia is a charity recognised by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACN 617 080 387), we do not have DGR status. Neither do other animal welfare organisations whose primary goal is to help animals raised for food, entertainment or experimentation. As you know, many of the industries Animals Australia has actively been involved in exposing, such as the live export trade, enjoy government support.

Thankfully our wonderful supporters have encouraged us with their determination to not let this influence their financial support. Animals Australia and our supporters will continue to fight to improve the lives of all animals. We will speak for those who cannot.

You can find out more about DGR status and making tax deductible donations by contacting the Australian Taxation Office.

You can make changes to your monthly donation by joining My Animals Australia. Need to update your payment info, upgrade your support or check your fundraising pages? Easy — That's what My Animals Australia is for. It is your personal membership hub, enabling you to conveniently and safely take control of your information. See you there!

Alternatively, you can contact our Supporter Services team on 1 800 888 584 or send email to with your name and contact number (please do not include credit card details) and a member of our friendly team will be in touch.

A renewal reminder will be sent by email, but if you wish to renew your membership now please click here or alternatively, you can call our freecall number 1800 888 584 within business hours and one of our helpful membership staff will assist you.

Alternatively, you can renew your annual Membership by joining My Animals Australia. It is your personal membership hub, enabling you to conveniently and safely take control of your information. See you there!

Animals Australia is a charity recognised by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACN 617 080 387).

You can update your contact details by joining My Animals Australia. Need to update your payment info, upgrade your support or check your fundraising pages? Easy — That's what My Animals Australia is for. It is your personal membership hub, enabling you to conveniently and safely take control of your information. See you there!

Alternatively, send an email to or contact our Supporter Services team on 1 800 888 584.

On rare occasions we do assist specific Member Society projects where they align with our own campaigns, for example our sponsorship of the 'Getting to Zero' summits (to reduce the over-breeding of cats and dogs).

Animals Australia is an a-political organisation. We have no party affiliations and do not donate or contribute funds to any party, nor do we receive funds from any. Animals Australia is a publicly funded charity. We operate on the good will of compassionate individuals who financially support our work through membership fees and donations. Click here to find out how you can contribute to our work.

Cruelty-free living

YES! There is mounting and overwhelming evidence that a plant-based diet can not only provide for all our nutritional needs but is also healthier. In fact, in addition to wanting to help animals, many people adopt a plant-based diet to improve their health - reducing their risk of stroke, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Former US President, Bill Clinton has praised the health benefits he has gained since cutting meat, eggs and dairy from his diet in 2011, after suffering a heart attack.

From Leonardo Da Vinci to Carl Lewis, Einstein to P!nk, many of the greatest minds, most successful athletes and biggest stars have made the choice to lead a cruelty-free lifestyle.

You can find plenty of simple tips on making the switch by clicking here. You can also find helpful information on eating a healthy balanced plant-based diet here.

If you have specific dietary needs please contact a suitably qualified nutritionist or dietician

Thank you for wanting to make kinder choices when you shop!

As an animal protection organisation, Animals Australia does not promote or endorse any commercial animal products. However, in recognition of the fact that some systems of raising animals for food are significantly better than others, we do strive to provide meaningful information that helps people better understand the relative benefits and concerns inherent in each of these systems.

As consumer awareness and concern about the lives led by animals raised for food continues to rise, ethical concerns are playing an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions. But rather than addressing these concerns, it seems that some companies have attempted to hide behind confusing claims and labels. We've put together a series of no-nonsense guides to help you understand what these labels really mean for animals, so you can make informed choices that are in line with your own values. Click here to read our guide to understanding egg labels.

Thank you for wanting to make kinder choices when you shop!

As an animal protection organisation, Animals Australia does not promote or endorse any commercial animal products. However, in recognition of the fact that some systems of raising animals for food are significantly better than others, we do strive to provide meaningful information that helps people better understand the relative benefits and concerns inherent in each of these systems.

As consumer awareness and concern about the lives led by animals raised for food continues to rise, ethical concerns are playing an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions. But rather than addressing these concerns, it seems that some companies have attempted to hide behind confusing claims and labels. We've put together a series of no-nonsense guides to help you understand what these labels really mean for animals, so you can make informed choices that are in line with your own values. Click here to read our guide to understanding pork, bacon and ham labels.

Thank you for wanting to make kinder choices when you shop!

As an animal protection organisation, Animals Australia does not promote or endorse any commercial animal products. However, in recognition of the fact that some systems of raising animals for food are significantly better than others, we do strive to provide meaningful information that helps people better understand the relative benefits and concerns inherent in each of these systems.

As consumer awareness and concern about the lives led by animals raised for food continues to rise, ethical concerns are playing an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions. But rather than addressing these concerns, it seems that some companies have attempted to hide behind confusing claims and labels. We've put together a series of no-nonsense guides to help you understand what these labels really mean for animals, so you can make informed choices that are in line with your own values. Click here to read our guide to understanding chicken meat labels.

Live animal export

Every year, the global live export industry transports millions of live cattle, sheep, goats and other animals around the world — just so they can be slaughtered for their meat in destination countries.

These animals are ‘living cargo’ and are valued only for the meat that their bodies can produce.

By sea, plane or by road, long distance transport is inherently stressful for animals and exposes them to risks of injury and illness at every stage of the process. Thousands don’t survive the journey and Animals Australia’s investigations over a decade have revealed that those who do can face extreme cruelty and abuse.

Australia is one of the world’s biggest exporters of live sheep and cattle — sending animals for slaughter to the Middle East, South East Asia and North Africa. South American and European countries also export large numbers of live animals. Animals Australia’s global arm, Animals International, has conducted investigations into the terrible treatment of these animals in importing countries.

The vast majority of exported animals have their throats cut while they are fully conscious and sensible to pain. This is despite most exporting nations requiring pre-slaughter stunning in their own countries.

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Even before stepping onto a live export ship, these animals will have often suffered through long overland journeys to get near a port, usually followed by confinement in a feedlot to 'acclimatise' to the unfamiliar food they will be given on board. They then face the stress of being loaded in their thousands onto a live export vessel.

Conditions on board live export ships are inherently stressful and precarious for the animals. Rough seas, crowded conditions, temperature extremes and high ammonia levels from the buildup of waste — all exacerbate the risk of illness and injury. Causes of death at sea include heat stress, starvation, salmonella-induced enteritis or traumatic injuries requiring euthanasia.

If animals transported within Australia died in the numbers that they do on live export ships, cruelty charges could be laid. But the industry simply accepts these deaths as part of its business model. In fact, up to 2% of every consignment of sheep and 1% of cattle can die at sea before a government investigation is even triggered. 

From Australia alone, millions of animals have suffered and perished at sea over the decades that the live export trade has existed.

Read more about the conditions at sea here.

Animals are exported to countries where laws do not protect them from extreme cruelty and in some cases, where no animal protection laws exist at all. Over decades, the live export industry has knowingly put animals into horrific situations.

It has only been through Animals Australia’s investigations that the treatment of animals in importing countries has been brought to light.

Our investigators have witnessed disoriented animals being stabbed in the eyes and face and having their leg tendons slashed — common ‘disabling’ techniques in places where there is no appropriate infrastructure in operation to humanely handle and slaughter large, frightened animals.

We’ve documented cattle having their skulls crushed with sledgehammers in Vietnam, being hoisted to the ceiling by one leg while still fully sensible to pain in Turkey and Israel, and sheep being stuffed into car boots in scorching heat throughout the Middle East.  

Much of the cruelty witnessed over the years has been the result of individuals buying animals for private or backyard slaughter or fearful and un-trained workers not having the training or the equipment to manage large, frightened animals in a way that would at least reduce their suffering. Australia’s willingness over decades to export animals regardless of how they would be treated sent the damaging message that Australia accepted such treatment, setting a terrible example and in many cases, entrenching cruelty in destination countries.

Animals Australia’s investigations have forced significant industry reform but even today, Australian government live export regulations do not require pre-slaughter stunning, so most exported animals suffer through the pain and distress of having their throats cut while fully conscious. 

Read more about what our investigations have uncovered in importing countries.

Live export is not only cruel but it is entirely unnecessary. Australia exports boxed meat to every country we send live animals to. The old industry argument of importing countries preferring live animals no longer stacks up as all of these countries already take significant amounts of boxed meat from Australia.  

A succession of economic reports have also confirmed that live export is not critical to most farmers or the economy. The majority of producers do not rely on live export and those who currently sell animals to the live trade have other options if the trade was phased out.

Animals are transported live because their bodies are seen by the global industry as an efficient way to transport ‘fresh meat’. These animals are treated like inanimate objects, not the living, breathing beings that they are. Live export cruelty is a global problem, so our work for animals has extended through our global arm, Animals International.

Recognised internationally for strategic public awareness campaigning, our investigations and those of our partner organisations have exposed the extreme abuse of animals exported from Australia, Europe and South America, galvanising caring people from right around the world to speak out for animals and demand an end to the global live export trade.

Our first investigation in 2003 documented the shocking treatment of Australian sheep in Kuwait. Since then, our investigations have spanned 16 countries from within Asia to the Middle East and Africa. A full list of our investigations can be found here.

Australia

After Animals Australia's iconic 2011 investigation exposing the brutal treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia, the Gillard government introduced a new system in an attempt to properly regulate the live export industry for the very first time.

The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) makes exporters legally accountable for the animals they sell right through the supply chain — from farm to slaughter in the importing country. Under ESCAS, before an exporter can obtain an export permit, they must be able to show that they have a secure ‘supply chain’ in place in importing countries that will see animals only going through facilities that have been audited to comply with OIE (World Organisation of Animal Health) guidelines. It’s important to remember that these are very base-level guidelines that, for example, still allow animals to be slaughtered without stunning.

Animals Australia has since exposed major breaches of ESCAS, in places including Jordan, Israel, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Mauritius and Kuwait. The fundamental flaw with ESCAS is that it still largely relies on industry self-regulation and, ultimately, regardless of what rules Australia puts in place, we still have no real control over what happens to our animals once they set foot in other countries.

In addition, ESCAS does not apply to ‘breeder’ animals and dairy cows who are exported but not for the purposes of slaughter, meaning that as soon as they step off a ship, exporters bear no legal responsibility for what happens to them in the importing country. Investigations have revealed dairy cows suffering extreme neglect and cruelty in importing countries.

Europe

Our eight-month investigation into the cruel transport and slaughter of European animals in the Middle East and Egypt helped inspire one million petition signatures and an EU Commission Inquiry into live export. From Belgium to Slovakia, the media response was unprecedented and ignited a wave of compassion for farmed animals across Europe.

One major media exposé in Germany sparked an incredible response, with major political parties and industry bodies calling for an end to live export. And after three years of investigations into the treatment of Romanian animals in Egypt and Lebanon, government officials have finally recognised live export as an issue of significant concern.

South America

Our work in South America has so far seen the release of our evidence of live export cruelty in Uruguay and Brazil, where until now, very little was known about the suffering of animals exported from that continent. We’re building powerful alliances, with politicians, vets and colleague groups including Forum Animal, taking the first critical steps towards protecting South American animals from this brutal, global trade. And the signs so far in Brazil are very positive — a public inquiry will be held, legislation to ban live export is to be drafted, vets and vet students are being educated and beginning to speak out against the trade, and the meat processing union has publicly announced its opposition to live export.

Middle East

Our work alongside the Princess Alia Foundation in Jordan has seen pre-slaughter stunning introduced in the major government abattoir, creating a significant precedent in the Middle East and sparing Australian and many other animals from the pain and suffering of fully conscious slaughter.

In both Kuwait and Jordan, years of relentless investigations and legal complaints to the Australian government, are finally paying off. In livestock markets where we have witnessed so much suffering — with terrified Aussie sheep tied up and abused — we are now regularly finding empty pens. The live export industry is being reined in because exporters know our investigators are on the ground, watching their every movement.

Global partnerships

We’re proud to work alongside dynamic animal protection organisations and individuals around the globe, who share our vision of a world free from live export cruelty. These powerful alliances from Europe to South America maximize our reach and impact, ensuring animals have the strongest possible representation, wherever and whenever, they need it.

Discover more about our international work to end the cruelty of live export.

We have found there is a lot of confusion surrounding halal slaughter of animals. It's important to point out that the cruelty depicted in live export investigation footage is also contrary to Islamic requirements. It has been condemned by Muslims around the world.

Key requirements of halal killing — according to the Koran and Islamic leaders — include:

  • not killing animals in the presence of other animals
  • the animals are not to be bound
  • the slaughterman makes a dedication of the animal to 'Allah'
  • the animal being slaughtered must face Mecca
  • the animal should be killed with a single cut to the throat with a long sharp blade, and
  • the animal must not suffer prior to slaughter.

Investigations since 2003 in key Middle East countries that import Australian animals have found that, in fact, halal requirements (as listed above) are routinely ignored in each of Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

Halal slaughter can use stunning.

Muslim clerics and halal certification bodies in Australia condemn slaughter without stunning and it is illegal in Australia to kill an animal for any commercial purpose without stunningAlmost all 'halal accredited' meat produced in Australia comes from facilities that do stun animals before slaughter.

In terms of animal welfare, halal slaughter of animals within Australia is generally no more or less cruel than any other form of commercial slaughter in this country.

However by contract, pre-slaughter stunning is not a requirement under the Australian government's live export regulation scheme (ESCAS), which means that the vast majority of exported Australian animals are still having their throats cut while fully conscious in importing countries.

While our work with overseas animal protection groups like the Princess Alia Foundation in Jordan has led to rapid uptake of stunning in some markets, the lack of animal welfare laws in most importing countries puts animals at further risk.

This is part of the reason why Animals Australia campaigns to end the export of live animals for slaughter to overseas markets, so their slaughter (halal or otherwise) will be dependent on Australian standards.

You can take action on the Animals Australia website to help all animals in Australian slaughterhouses.

Animal welfare legislation in Australia requires that all animals slaughtered in this country are stunned prior to slaughter. However, a legal loophole is still allowing several slaughterhouses in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales to kill sheep without stunning for a small ritual slaughter market (kosher and halal).

With Islamic and Jewish leaders in Australia largely accepting the stunning of animals and the vast amount of 'halal accredited' meat produced in Australia coming from facilities that do stun animals before slaughter, the suffering of sheep in ritual slaughter continues unnecessarily.

The State Ministers for agriculture have met several times in past  years to consider this issue, but have failed to reach consensus. Get further information on the issue and how you can call for an end to unstunned ritual slaughter in Australia.

Independent and government-commissioned economic research over the past decade has revealed that, contrary to live export industry propaganda:

  • Live export is a low value industry that poses a reputational risk to Australia
  • Live export represents a tiny fraction of Australia's exports.
  • Of those farmers who do live export, most don’t rely on it and would still have profitable businesses if live export was phased out.
  • For those for whom live export is a more significant part of their farm business, they have other options available to them should live export be phased out and would still have profitable businesses.
  • Australia's chilled meat trade is much more economically valuable than live export.
  • Australia already exports halal-accredited chilled and frozen meat to all relevant countries to which Australian animals are exported live for slaughter.
  • History shows that when importing countries can’t access live Australian animals — due to trade disputes, suspensions on cruelty grounds or drought — those countries take Australian boxed meat instead.
  • A well-planned transition from live export could create jobs, benefit the Australian economy, create jobs and provide stability for Australian producers.

It does not make ethical or economic sense to send animals half way around the world — subjecting them to the unavoidable stress and suffering inherent to long distance transport — just so they can be killed for their meat in importing countries. Especially when every country that currently imports live animals also imports meat from animals slaughtered in Australia, under Australian regulations.

Speak out for animals

Join more than 200,000 caring people around the world by signing the global petition against live export cruelty.

Political pressure

Make sure your local MP knows where you stand on this issue — and that you expect them to speak out on your behalf for animals. If you’re in Australia, you can find contact details on our website for your local Federal MP and your state's Senators.

Eat kindly

By pushing animals into more countries, the live export industry aims to encourage people to eat more meat. And at a time when leading health and environmental experts are urging us to reduce meat consumption. Live export is not only cruel but it’s globally irresponsible. 1 in 3

Australians are already enjoying more plant-based meals — it’s simple and delicious to join them with our free veg starter guide, packed full of tips and recipes.

All of Animals Australia's critical investigations and campaigns are funded entirely by people in the community who share our vision for a kinder world, free from animal cruelty.

You can support our work by donating to underpin our campaigns, signing up to our Action Network, joining us on Facebook and Twitter, and signing up to our e-list so we can keep you updated on important issues and how to take action on behalf of animals.

Click here for more information about live export.

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