Frequently asked questions.

Farming laws and practices

Animals raised and killed for food are excluded from key protections within these laws. This means they can be severely confined and denied any quality of life – for their entire lives; endure invasive surgical procedures without any pain relief; and be subjected to slaughter processes that cause great pain and suffering.

Each state in Australia has its own animal welfare legislation. For example, in NSW it’s called the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, and in South Australia it’s called the Animal Welfare Act 1985.

QueenslandVictoriaTasmaniaWestern Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory each also have their own version of an ‘Animal Welfare Act’.

Each Act prohibits cruelty to animals. However, in each of these Acts there are ‘carve out’ clauses that exclude certain animals from the anti-cruelty protections if they are defined as ‘stock’ or farm animals, or animals used in research.

These ‘excluded’ animals are pulled out from the protection of the Acts and placed under industry Codes of Practice or Standards & Guidelines documents. These Codes or ‘Standards’ operate to exclude hundreds of millions of animals from anti-cruelty protections, most of them in factory farms, and despite the fact that all animals share the capacity to suffer.

Read more about these ‘Codes of Cruelty’ here.

Yes. But review processes rarely occur, are drawn out over many years, are highly politicised and consistently prioritise industry interests over animal welfare and community views.

Decades of lobbying by Animals Australia, the RSPCA and other groups, have not been able to achieve basic protections for farmed animals despite the obvious duty of care that has been ignored.

Australia’s system of reviews of animal welfare standards, codes of practice and state laws and regulations has been widely criticised through independent reports, including by the Productivity Commission, as being slow, cumbersome, inherently biased towards industry interests, and lacking scientific integrity.

Animal welfare is a State and Territory Government responsibility (under the Constitution). The difficulty in reaching agreement across all jurisdictions – and the fact that in most cases Agriculture Ministers are the decision-makers – has led to conditions for farmed animals being very similar today to what they were when the first animal welfare Codes of Practice were drafted in the 1980s. These codes largely documented (and then entrenched in law) what was industry standard practice at the time: extreme confinement, painful husbandry, and crowded, long-distance transportation.

Despite decades of official reviews, the growth of scientific knowledge and development of more humane practices (such as the availability of cheap pain relief), the politicised review process has failed to deliver any significant reform to laws intended to protect all animals.

The prolonged Poultry Code review (which is still not complete some 10 years after it was supposed to begin) demonstrates how flawed, and biased, these processes are.

That all of these cruel practices remain legal – indicates ‘no’.

National polling has consistently shown that the vast majority of Australians are opposed to battery cages. Yet 11 million egg-laying hens remain confined in cages today.

The inherently cruel live export industry continues despite overwhelming public opposition to the trade.

A 2018 report by FutureEye, Commodity or Sentient Being? Australia’s shifting mindset on farmed animal welfare, found high levels of community concern around withholding food and water from animals for long periods during transportation as well as performing painful procedures on animals without pain relief, yet such practices are widespread, routine and legal.

Reviews of animal welfare standards are approved by Ministers of Agriculture whose primary stakeholders are the industries that profit from industrial-scale and entrenched unacceptable practices, and that do not want to change. Despite these reviews technically needing to balance the scientific evidence on the welfare of animals with public opinion and current industry practices, governments have historically prioritised industry interests.

In fact, neither high public concern nor overwhelming scientific evidence over recent decades has brought about the obvious changes that animals need.

That’s why Animals Australia has launched the Somewhere campaign – we cannot leave the wellbeing of animals in the hands of governments and animal industries. Fortunately, consumer choices can spark needed change.

Audits and inspections are not mandatory. Audits occur once a year on most but not all intensive farms, facilities get fore-warning, and auditors are chosen and paid for by the industry. The thing about audits is that they’re designed to pick up wrong-doing against an industry standard… but what if the whole system is wrong?

You see, farms are usually audited against the minimum standards outlined in Codes of Practice which allow animals to endure severe, prolonged confinement and be subjected to painful surgical mutilations without any pain relief. All of the conditions revealed through the Somewhere campaign are industry-wide, routine and legal and would be deemed acceptable under any audit.

Despite industry bodies using third party auditors to carry out the audits, the audit results and any non-compliances are dealt with by personnel from within the industry body’s program. Also, participation in these auditing programs is voluntary (not required by law).

No animal wants to die, therefore various methods are used to capture, restrain and then render animals unconscious – and all of them cause great suffering.

Pigs are rendered unconscious via gassing or electrical shock, and chickens are either gassed or shackled upside down by their legs on a conveyer belt before being dragged through an electrified water bath.

Animals Australia also understands that there must be implications for workers. Any employment that requires you to slaughter animals for a living and quell your compassion on a daily basis cannot occur without personal impact.

As an organisation that represents animals and believes in and advocates for human kindness, we cannot endorse commercial killing systems that have consequences for animals and the humans employed to end their lives.

Sir Paul McCartney once said that ‘if slaughterhouses had glass walls, the world would be vegetarian’. We believe McCartney is correct, that human compassion would drive other choices.

Find out more about routine, legal slaughter practices in Australia here.

Around 680 million land animals are raised and slaughtered for meat in Australia annually. This includes over 7 million cattle and 31 million sheep. The vast majority of the 635 million chickens and 5 million pigs killed each year are factory farmed.

These figures don’t include fish and other sea creatures who are only measured in tonnage. But with around 186,000 tonnes of these species killed for food annually, adding them would easily take the slaughter of individual animals for their meat to over 1 billion each year.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of calves are killed in their first week of life as by-products of the dairy industry – born only to keep their mothers producing milk. And some 12 million unwanted male chicks are killed on their first day of life in Australia every year because they have no economic value to the egg industry.

Many people are surprised to learn just how young the vast majority of animals raised for food are when they are killed. All farmed animals are sent to the slaughterhouse long before their natural lifespan. The age of slaughter can vary depending species, the type of farm and even seasonal conditions. The below guide is the most common scenario:

  • Male chicks (by-products of the egg industry): 1 day old
  • Male dairy calves (by-products of the dairy industry): 5- 10 days old
  • ‘Meat’ chickens: 5-6 weeks of age (a little older for those on organic farms)
  • Pigs: usually around 5 months old (if killed for fresh pork, a little older if killed  for bacon, ham or other ‘smallgoods’)
  • Lambs: in the first year of their life
  • ‘Mutton’ (older sheep): Usually 3-6 years old.
  • ‘Veal’ cattle: in the first year of their life
  • ‘Beef’ cattle: 18 months to 3 years old.
  • Egg laying hens: usually 18 months old when no longer considered productive
  • Mother pigs: around 3 years old – when no longer able to produce required quantities of piglets

While most sheep and cattle are raised extensively on pasture, there are welfare issues associated with these industries that few consumers would be aware of.

1 in 5 lambs (around 10 million annually) won’t survive their first week of life. They’ll die in paddocks from starvation, birth injuries, complications during birth or exposure to the cold. With industry standards not requiring full shelter, these young lambs and their mums are often left unprotected from the elements. Those who do survive may have their tails cut off, be castrated or undergo mulesing – often without any pain relief. To be sold as ‘lamb’ they will be sent to slaughter from between 4 months and 12 months of age. Older sheep used for wool production may later be sold as meat labelled ‘mutton’. Almost all of these sheep will have been subjected to the stress of shearing, yarding, transportation and slaughter.

Cattle also endure excruciatingly painful procedures. In their first year of life they may be dehorned, castrated and branded. Pain relief, under law, is not required.  Up to half of all cattle in Australia will spend some time (two months and up to one year) in a feedlot prior to slaughter, where they will live intensively and be fed grain to ‘fatten’ them up. All cattle will be subjected to the stress of mustering, yarding and transportation – often over very long distances – and ultimately, they will all spend their final hours in a slaughterhouse.  Some will be exported live.

It’s not only reducing suffering that has many people rethinking eating beef and lamb. Clearing vast swathes of land for sheep and cattle grazing (or to grow crops to feed animals raised for food) is destroying precious wildlife habitats, pushing species like koalas to the brink of extinction. In addition, livestock production is considered to be one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis facing our planet. Indeed, a landmark study by Oxford University found that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest thing we can do to reduce our impact on the earth.

You can find helpful tips and information on enjoying more plant-rich foods in our plant-based living FAQs.

Yes, the vast majority of turkeys raised for meat (often for Christmas celebrations) suffer during their short three to four month life. Like chickens raised for meat, turkeys have been selectively bred to grow fast and large, which results in pain and discomfort as their immature bodies struggle to cope. This unnatural growth rate for turkeys extends across all systems – free-range, RSPCA Approved and factory farmed. It also causes further welfare implications at the slaughterhouse, where turkeys can be shackled and suspended by their feet upside down for 3 or more minutes before being killed. Aside from the bird’s distress, this puts intense strain on their hips and legs, which can fracture or even break.

Eating turkey and pork, especially at Christmas, is a tradition we inherited without ever being advised of the associated welfare consequences for the animals. Major supermarkets are now stocking alternative plant-based Christmas roasts in response to growing awareness. We can be the generation that thinks differently, and chooses differently, and inspires a new festive tradition that also celebrates kindness to all beings.

Just like humans, dairy cows are mammals who only produce milk when they have a baby to feed. To meet consumer demand for milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, cows are kept in an almost continuous cycle of pregnancy and birth.

Considered economically insignificant, male calves, and the females who are excess to the dairy industry’s needs, are separated from their mothers on their first day of life. From as young as 5 days old, they can be loaded onto trucks and sent to saleyards or slaughterhouses. This separation causes cow and calf enormous stress and grief.

Hundreds of thousands of dairy calves are slaughtered every year – born only to keep their mothers producing milk for humans. But this isn’t the only problem facing cows and calves in the dairy industry: find out more here.

Animals used to produce meat and eggs are deliberately bred for this purpose and most are slaughtered at a young age.  Any transformation of our food system will not happen overnight and numbers of animals bred will always be adjusted to meet any declining demand.

This world was never intended to house the 70 billion plus animals raised to be slaughtered each year for food and it is suffering as a result of it.

Numbers of animals raised in ‘livestock’ industries need to be dramatically reduced to reduce suffering and the recognized impact on the health of our planet. Those that remain in food systems can then, at the very least, be provided with quality of life and the individual care that they require and deserve.

Factory farming creates large amounts of seemingly cheap meat, milk and eggs and is highly dependent on large quantities of limited resources such as grain-based feed, water, energy and medication.

water footprint study (looking into how much water was used to produce certain foods) revealed that vegetables had a footprint of approximately 322 litres per kg and fruits came in at 962 litres per kg. By comparison: chicken came in at 4,325l/kg, pork at 5,988l/kg, sheep/goat meat at 8,763l/kg, and beef at 15,415l/kg.

In addition, roughly one third of the cropland available globally is used to farm crops for animal feed. Much more land is needed to produce meat or dairy products than to produce vegetables, cereals or fruit.

Without factory farming, these finite resources can be redirected to help feed the human population across the globe in a more equitable and sustainable manner.

A reduction in the number of animals farmed for food more broadly would have enormous positive impacts on our environment and our health, including:

  • Pollution (especially from ammonia emissions) would decrease;
  • Climate Change would be decelerated;
  • Deforestation rates would decrease, wild habitats would regenerate, and biodiversity would thrive;
  • The risk of pandemics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria evolving in humans would decrease;
  • Greater food security globally (because most land is currently used to grow crops to feed farmed animals. These crops could feed 3 billion people).
  • Our planet and water supplies would be given the opportunity to replenish and renew.

A significant 2018 study from Oxford University published in the eminent journal ‘Science’ concluded that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest thing we can do to reduce our impact on the earth.

The worldwide practice of keeping animals — both ‘farmed’ and wild — in often filthy, confined conditions and then slaughtering them provides the perfect breeding ground for infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

The COVID-19 coronavirus is a zoonotic disease — meaning it arose in animals, jumped the species barrier to humans, and then spread via human-to-human transmission.

Many, and arguably all, zoonotic diseases arise because of the ways humans treat animals — both directly, as is the case in ‘wet markets’ and factory farms, and indirectly, for example through land clearing, which leads to habitat destruction and increased contact between people, wildlife and the diseases they can carry.

It’s no overstatement to say the coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill — but it’s only the latest in a series of zoonotic disasters. From bird and swine flu, to SARS, MERS and anthrax among others — there is a compelling body of evidence to support the fact that the treatment of animals in food systems is a major factor in the spread of new diseases on a global scale.

Watch this episode in Animals Australia’s Deep Dive series on Youtube to find out more about what Covid-19 has to do with animals.

Plant-based living

Trying to overhaul your entire diet can be – well, overwhelming! So most importantly, go at your own pace. No matter the stage you’re at in your exploration of plant-based food, there are loads of resources out there to give you a hand… We’ve created several to help you get started:

VegKit.com: VegKit is an initiative of Animals Australia. Head there for tips on nutrition, products, keeping the whole family happy and a mouth-watering collection of 150+ tasty recipes.

Veg Starter Kit: It’s VegKit in a handy booklet! Order your free kit and you can refer back to it anytime you need some inspiration.

VegKit Blog: Join our blog community to learn and share with others who are also dipping their toes in the plant-based water! Find advice on where and how to begincooking tips from the pros or jump right in with a week’s worth of plant-based meals you can throw together with minimal time and even less effort!

The plant-based diet – if centred largely around whole foods – has been shown to be a very nutritious way of eating, with numerous studies boasting its health benefits.

Currently, 90% of Australians (and even 99% of kids under 18) do not eat enough vegetables. With animal-based proteins occupying such a hefty amount of our calorie intake, frankly it’s difficult to fit enough vegetables in our diets, too. That’s why many people find that after switching to a plant-based diet, they are naturally eating heaps more vegetables – because they simply have the caloric space for it now. And such a plant-rich diet is associated with a lower risk of heart diseaselower risk of diabeteslower cholesterollower blood pressure, and an increased life expectancy – all quite promising indications of a most nutritious diet!

For optimal nutrition, it’s all about variety. Aim to fill your plate with a rainbow of foods – and incorporate a balanced mix of these 5 food groups as much as possible: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts. Generally if you are eating mostly whole foods (from all of the 5 food groups), taking a B12 supplement, and getting a bit of sunshine (or supplementing) for your vitamin D … then you’re probably doing great!

From beans and legumes to fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables, mother nature has blessed planet earth with an abundance of food that’s kind to animals, gentle on the environment and healthier for us.

Meat

There are plenty of whole foods that can easily replace meat in your favourite meals – think lentils in tacos and lasagne; cannellini or black beans in chilli; chickpeas, pumpkin or cauliflower in curries; or stir-frys, soups and roasts packed to the brim with a variety of vegetables. Mushrooms of all varieties are also a great substitute for meat (oyster mushrooms especially have a very ‘meaty’ texture). Find some of our favourite recipes at VegKit.com.

But there are also a growing number of plant-based meat substitutes that are readily available in major supermarkets – it seems like more are added to the shelves every week. These include plant-based bacon, mince, sausages, ‘fish’ fillets and ‘chicken’ schnitzels, whole pre-prepared ready meals and even party pies and sausage rolls. Explore our shopping guide for more.

Eggs

Whether you’re baking up a storm or cooking a hearty breakfast, egg-free is easy (and delicious!) From mashed banana to apple sauce and flaxseeds, these natural, plant-based ‘binding agents’ all work beautifully to create light and fluffy cakes and desserts. There are also commercial egg replacer products that are readily available. Find some tips on plant-based baking here.

For a plant-based twist on scrambled eggs, this tofu scramble is a real crowd-pleaser. Even if you’re not typically excited by tofu, any good tofu scramble is sure to surprise and delight. And if you’re really hungry, why not add it to a Big Brekky!

Dairy

With 1 in 6 Australians choosing dairy-free, the market for plant-based alternatives to milk, cheese, ice cream and yoghurt is booming. Whether you’re after a creamy smoothie or melty toasty, there are plenty of calcium-rich dairy-free products lining the supermarket shelves, and more are being added every week. Here’s our guide to the best plant-based milks to suit all occasions, some ideas for plant-based swaps for milk, butter and eggs, and a more extensive shopping guide to show you what products are available at the supermarkets.

Explore our ‘Same but Better’ page for more ideas on tasty plant-based swaps for all your favourite foods.

You will get some protein from nearly everything you eat, from spinach to chickpeas to bananas – there is protein in virtually every plant food. (Consider how the mighty gorilla builds all his muscle – on leaves, bamboo shoots and fruits!)

Most Australians eating the standard Australian diet consume nearly twice the amount of protein they actually need. So you can imagine it’s still pretty easy to get your recommended daily intake of protein from a diet full of plants rather than meat. That being said, it’s good to make a point of eating a few high-protein foods each day to ensure you’re hitting the mark on this essential macronutrient.

Beanspulsesnuts and seeds are particularly reliable sources of protein (and fibre, too – which the average Australian could use a bit more of!) Include beans in your soups and veggie bowls, and add nuts or seeds to your salads, porridge, pastas, and even baked goods! Minimally processed soy products like tofu and tempeh are great, too – particularly because soy is also a ‘complete protein’ meaning it contains all the essential amino acids we need for healthy development. Many grains pack in the protein, too – incorporate oats, couscous, wild rice, and wholegrain pastas into your meals, and you’ll boost your meal’s protein whilst also increasing your fibre intake and getting a healthy dose of some key vitamins and minerals.

If you eat a varied diet with foods from a couple of these categories every day, chances are you will consume the recommended daily intake of protein without having to think much about it!

Explore our high-protein recipes for some more guidance in the kitchen.

In short – no. Lots of plant-based foods contain calcium!

Calcium-fortified soy milk is an easy and effective way to get your calcium if you previously consumed dairy-based milk and want to simply swap one milk for the other. Soy beans naturally contain calcium so even edamame (the raw beans) and tofu (a minimally processed soy product) are great sources of this bone-strengthening nutrient.

Dark, leafy greens (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, Swiss chard, cabbage) also provide a decent source of calcium. Some beans – like white beans, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils – provide roughly 10% the RDI of calcium in a cooked cup. There are a few other ways to bump up your calcium – at snack time, go for a handful of almonds or some dried figs, or have a couple of tablespoons of tahini in your next meal.

If you’re concerned about your calcium intake, chat with your doctor or a dietitian about taking a supplement, which is also a perfectly healthy way to meet your body’s requirements.

At most supermarkets nowadays you can find milk made from a wide range of plant sources. Soy milk and almond milk tend to be the most popular, but depending on your taste preferences and how you like to use milk, you might like another kind – like oat, rice, or coconut milk! It’s worth experimenting with a few different ones (and brands, really) to find your favourite. This guide to plant-based milk might be a good place to start.

Yes – You will need to take a B12 supplement. B12 is a critical vitamin for our brain function and our arterial health. Due to an evolutionary glitch of sorts, our bodies don’t create readily available B12 the way some animals do, so we need to take a B12 supplement to ensure we are getting enough of this nutrient. Head to NutritionFacts.org to learn about the best sources of B12.

Other nutrients that you may need to be mindful of, especially when you are new to plant-based eating, are iron and calcium. You can get adequate amounts of these nutrients from plant-based food sources, but you may choose to talk to a healthcare professional or dietitian if you’d like personalised guidance.

Then the good news is that eating plant-based can be as cost efficient as it is delicious! In fact, one study from 2020 found that embracing a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant proteins could save the average household $1,800 a year.

Consider the plant-based food groups: the grains and starchy vegetables we should eat most often are already cost effective, as are protein-rich legumes like beans and lentils, especially if you buy them raw rather than tinned. Fresh fruit and vegetables can fluctuate in price depending on the season, so a great option for the budget-conscious is to shop in the freezer section – and the good news is that snap frozen berries and veggies are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts (and you’ll likely reduce food waste from unused veggies going off in the crisper)! Nuts and seeds are an important addition to every diet, not just a plant-based one, and while these products may have a higher up-front cost, a little really does go a long way.

The cost of meat and dairy alternatives will depend on the product: some are comparative with the animal-based version and others are more expensive, however these costs are coming down as demand for plant-based products grows. Like all processed foods – including meat – we’re advised by health experts to eat them sparingly anyway.

Eating plant-based is by its very nature quite cost-effective but to save even more money, we suggest: focusing on whole foods rather than processed foods; buying seasonal produce (it’s not only better for the environment but you’ll be more likely to support local farmers); buying in bulk (beans, oats, rice and nuts can be very affordable when bought in large quantities); planning ahead (as with any diet, you do tend to spend more money when you shop at the last minute); and cooking at home as much as you can (and cooking ahead – these Smoky Beans not only taste delicious but freeze beautifully!)

While the idea of a ‘plant-based diet’ may sound obscure or entirely new to some people, the funny thing is that many of the foods and meals you’re probably already eating are in fact plant-based and are part of a nutritious plant-based diet.

  • Porridge or cereal for brekky? Swap the milk for soy or almond milk and you’re sorted. Prefer toast? Most spreads including peanut butter, jam and Vegemite are already plant-based.
  • Sandwiches for lunch? Swap the meat for a marinated tofu or tempeh, or some ready-made plant-based deli slices which you can find at most major supermarkets.
  • Pasta with red sauce for dinner? Instead of adding a mince to your sauce, add some veggies or lentils! Or try plant-based mince – there are plenty of brands readily available at most supermarkets.

Head to VegKit.com to see 5 easy meals you probably already know and love that can easily be made plant-based.

And on the VegKit blog we’ve gathered a whole week’s worth of quick and easy plant-based meals in one article to help get you started!

While it’s widely acknowledged that eating whole foods as close to their original form as possible and limiting processed foods is the healthiest option, plant-based meats can be a healthier option to conventional meat products.

research report commissioned by an independent think tank and adviser on plant-based alternatives, Food Frontier, found that plant-based meats are nutritionally superior or comparable – on average across most categories – to similar conventional meat products; do not present the same individual and public health risks of conventional animal meat; and offer some of the health benefits associated with plant-based eating.

Of course! We recommend VegKit.com as a fantastic place to start. Learn more about how to transition to plant-based eating, what your dinner plate should look like for optimal nutrition, and how to win over friends and family with over 200 delicious recipes to choose from. You can also order your free Veg Starter Kit here. And if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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.

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.

Donations and 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.

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.

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

To update your contact details or upgrade your support, please send an email to membership@animalsaustralia.org or contact our Supporter Services team on 1 800 888 584.

When appropriate, we assist organisations and programs that align with our work for animals, especially in times of disaster when an efficient and coordinated response is crucial.

For example, our Emergency Grants program helps provide food and veterinary care for animals in Australia and overseas, and our Australian bushfire emergency response program deployed vets and wildlife carers in the immediate crisis and provided ongoing feeding and recovery projects.

We also support programs to achieve our campaign goals for animals, like our sponsorship of the ‘Getting to Zero’ summits (to reduce the over-breeding and euthanasia of healthy but homeless 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 goodwill 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.

Compassionate living

Because our vision is a kinder world for all. Because we believe this is dependent on transforming our food system globally.

Human choice underpins the health of all life on Earth. For most, eating animals is an inherited habit rather than a conscious choice. Luminaries such as Sir David Attenborough and Dame Jane Goodall, along with leading international environmental and health agencies, are all speaking with one voice regarding the need for humanity to embrace new food choices. Plant-based eating is seen as a responsible, necessary choice.

Human evolution has been based on the willingness to ‘press pause’ to reflect, re-evaluate and reimagine what is possible. Our natural instinct in the face of animal suffering is to alleviate it, not facilitate it, but this cannot happen within food production systems built on the tradition of raising and killing animals for food.

Animals Australia holds the vision of a kinder world where farmers, communities, consumers and families collaborate to consciously create food systems that are in the highest interests of our planet, her people, and the living beings who share it with us.

You can find helpful tips and information on enjoying more plant-rich foods in our plant-based eating FAQs.

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.

From Leonardo Da Vinci to Carl Lewis, Natalie Portman to Einstein, many of the greatest minds, most successful athletes and biggest stars have made the choice to lead a compassionate lifestyle free from animal products.

You can find plenty of useful tips on making the switch at VegKit.com, including basic information for eating a healthy balanced plant-based diet.

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

If you have more questions about eating plant-based, we may have already answered them! Check out our frequently asked questions (FAQs) about plant-based eating for more info.

Animal products and labelling

Animals Australia will always acknowledge and applaud improvements in the treatment and slaughter of animals while they remain farmed for food.

However, we believe a fundamental question to be asked in any human interaction with animals that causes them harm is, “is their suffering necessary?’ Is there another, kinder choice that could be made or option that could be taken?

If there is, we will always highlight and advocate for the highest choice to be made that reduces or alleviates animal suffering.

Providing animals with quality of life is a positive step, but animals from all systems including free range and RSPCA Approved, are slaughtered via methods that cause great suffering and that most consumers would never condone. It is for this reason that Animals Australia will always highlight that buying plant-based food is the kindest choice.

In addition, within mass animal production systems there are always ethical issues. A prime example is the egg industry which requires replacement laying hens across all production systems. Each year, millions of day old, unwanted male chicks are placed on conveyer belts, separated off from the females, and shredded alive in a macerating machine or gassed to death.

Find out more about routine, legal slaughter practices in Australia here.

No animal wants to die, therefore various methods are used to capture, restrain and then render animals unconscious – and all of them cause great suffering.

Pigs are rendered unconscious via gassing or electrical shock, and chickens are either gassed or shackled upside down by their legs on a conveyer belt before being dragged through an electrified water bath.

Animals Australia also understands that there must be implications for workers. Any employment that requires you to slaughter animals for a living and quell your compassion on a daily basis cannot occur without personal impact.

As an organisation that represents animals and believes in and advocates for human kindness, we cannot endorse commercial killing systems that have consequences for animals and the humans employed to end their lives.

Sir Paul McCartney once said that ‘if slaughterhouses had glass walls, the world would be vegetarian’. We believe McCartney is correct, that human compassion would drive other choices.

Find out more about routine, legal slaughter practices in Australia here.

The failure of governments to regulate any level of acceptable standards for farmed animals led to the RSPCA stepping in towards achieving basic protections and some level of improved conditions for animals in production systems.

It is important to understand that the ‘RSPCA Approved’ label does not automatically mean ‘free-range’ (unless specifically labelled) or that animals raised in this system have had what consumers may envisage as a ‘happy’ life, or a ‘humane’ death. ‘RSPCA Approved’ on an animal product indicates a level of improvement from base line industry ‘codes of practice’ which permit cruel practices.

The RSPCA accreditation scheme includes approvals of indoor housing of grower pigs, intensive chicken and turkey meat facilities and barn laid egg production, each of which see animals confined at relatively high stocking densities and are, in effect, factory farming (albeit with lower densities than legally allowed).

In addition, the welfare outcomes addressed by the RSPCA Approved scheme do not extend to core genetic issues relating to the fast and abnormal growth rates in chickens and the mass disposal of unwanted male chicks in the egg industry.

Importantly, all animals in RSPCA Approved production systems endure the same inhumane slaughter practices as animals from other systems, due to the lack of alternative systems. See below for more information about what the various terms and labels on products mean for the animals.

Click here to read our guide to understanding chicken meat labels.

Click here to read our guide to understanding pork, bacon and ham labels.

Click here to read our guide to understanding egg labels.

Just like humans, dairy cows are mammals who only produce milk when they have a baby to feed. To meet consumer demand for milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, cows are kept in an almost continuous cycle of pregnancy and birth.

Considered economically insignificant, male calves, and the females who are excess to the dairy industry’s needs, are separated from their mothers on their first day of life. From as young as 5 days old, they can be loaded onto trucks and sent to saleyards or slaughterhouses. This separation causes cow and calf enormous stress and grief.

Hundreds of thousands of dairy calves are slaughtered every year – born only to keep their mothers producing milk for humans. But this isn’t the only problem facing cows and calves in the dairy industry: find out more here.

Fundraising and 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 groundbreaking 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 make a life-changing donation for animals.

Volunteer
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 our e-updates list today.

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 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.

If you would like to hold a fundraising event that falls outside the scope of our online fundraising, please email our team at enquiries@animalsaustralia.org and we will be in touch as quickly as possible. Please allow sufficient time for us to assess and approve your proposal.

While remote working during COVID has sadly meant that we haven’t been able to utilise our wonderful group of passionate volunteers, find out how you can gain valuable experience by volunteering to help animals.

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

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 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 or the police.

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:

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 enquiries@animalsaustralia.org

Campaigns and issues

Please start here for information about factory farming.

Please see our live export FAQ for detailed answers.

Animals raised and killed for food are excluded from key protections within these laws. This means they can be severely confined and denied any quality of life – for their entire lives; endure invasive surgical procedures without any pain relief; and be subjected to slaughter processes that cause great pain and suffering.

Each State in Australia has its own animal welfare legislation. For example, in NSW it’s called the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 and in South Australia it’s called the Animal Welfare Act 1985. Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory each also have their own version of an ‘Animal Welfare Act’.

Each Act prohibits cruelty to animals. However, in each of these Acts there are ‘carve out’ clauses that exclude certain animals from the anti-cruelty protections if they are defined as ‘stock’ or farm animals, or animals used in research.

These ‘excluded’ animals are pulled out from the protection of the Acts and placed under industry Codes of Practice or Standards & Guidelines documents. These Codes or ‘Standards’ operate to exclude hundreds of millions of animals from anti-cruelty protections, most of them in factory farms, and despite the fact that all animals share the capacity to suffer.

Read more about these ‘Codes of Cruelty’ here.

The worldwide practice of keeping animals — both ‘farmed’ and wild — in often filthy, confined conditions and then slaughtering them provides the perfect breeding ground for infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

The COVID-19 coronavirus is a zoonotic disease — meaning it arose in animals, jumped the species barrier to humans, and then spread via human-to-human transmission.

Many, and arguably all, zoonotic diseases arise because of the ways humans treat animals — both directly, as is the case in ‘wet markets’ and factory farms, and indirectly, for example through land clearing, which leads to habitat destruction and increased contact between people, wildlife and the diseases they can carry.

It’s no overstatement to say the coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill — but it’s only the latest in a series of zoonotic disasters. From bird and swine flu, to SARS, MERS and anthrax among others — there is a compelling body of evidence to support the fact that the treatment of animals in food systems is a major factor in the spread of new diseases on a global scale.

Watch this episode in Animals Australia’s Deep Dive series on Youtube to find out more about what Covid-19 has to do with animals.

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. 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 40 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) Since our first investigations in 2003, there has been an 87% drop in the number of sheep exported from Australia annually – that’s millions of animals who thanks to your support are not being subjected to this inherently cruel trade. Animals Australia’s investigations into the live export trade have led to the government putting in place at least minimum systems of regulation ( the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) to introduce some basic welfare requirements and provide a process to hold live exporters to account if these requirements are breached. Animals Australia’s subsequent investigations have been responsible for bringing such breaches to the attention of the 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 animal products from farming systems that confine mother pigs in sow stalls. These changes alone will help free millions of animals from cruel confinement. Our public awareness work continues.

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, so we don’t run animal shelters — though we are 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.

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, 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.

Animals are transported live because their bodies are seen by the global meat industry as a way to transport ‘fresh meat’. These animals are treated like ‘cargo’, 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.

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. Some of our campaign videos have so far been translated into Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and Portuguese, and our television campaigns have played 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.

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.

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 stunning. Almost 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 a consensus. Get further information on the issue and how you can call for an end to un stunned 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.

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.

Click here for more information about live export.