UPDATE: Where to next for the live export campaign?

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 4 January 2019

When we celebrate the end of live sheep exports, we will look back at 2018 as being the defining year for this campaign. Never before have we achieved so much progress for animals and taken such huge strides forward – and never before have we been closer to the day that animals are not condemned to the extreme suffering on board live export ships.

In 2018,

  • We represented animals in the Federal Court (and won!)
  • We put live exports firmly back on the political agenda
  • We gave the victims of this cruel trade a voice in the national media spotlight for months on end.
  • We stopped sheep leaving our shores during the deadliest months of the year: the scorching Middle Eastern summer.
  • Historic bills to end the trade have been introduced and debated in our parliament.
  • The Australian Senate voted to bring an end to live sheep exports, and
  • We have secured a historic policy commitment from the Australian Labor Party to end live sheep exports if elected in 2019.

So, where are we at now?

Well, right now Australian politicians are enjoying their summer holidays … and honestly, they’re probably going to need their rest. The Morrison Government knows it has a tough time ahead with a federal election likely in May. They know most Aussies are against live sheep exports, and in fact, so are most politicians. They know that we at Animals Australia certainly aren’t going to back down any time soon on this issue.

And while the Liberal/National government has a fairly appalling record when it comes to acting on live export cruelty, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud made an announcement in December that sent shock waves through the industry … a new live export animal welfare test that could effectively bring the entire live sheep trade to a halt.

And you know it’s a big deal, because the head honcho of the live export industry is pretty miffed about it.

Here’s the gist of the new restrictions:


In summary, these new standards will make it so difficult and so expensive to export sheep, that hundreds of thousands of animals will likely be spared the horrors of live export.

The reports that led to this announcement, commissioned by the government after explosive footage of on-board suffering was aired on 60 Minutes, have exposed that the live sheep trade is incompatible with even the most basic animal welfare standards.

The most recent report by a scientific panel also confirmed what exporters have known for decades – that shipping Australian sheep across the high heat months in the Middle East results in egregious suffering.

What next?

After a tumultuous year the Morrison Government is now running the country with a minority government, and with Parliament resuming for two weeks in February and three private members Bills to end live export still on the table, anything could happen. Federal Labor MP Amanda Rishworth has recently indicated that Labor may push again to definitively ban sheep exports during this period.

If that doesn’t happen, then every Australian will have the opportunity to decide on the future of live export when they vote during the Federal election, currently set down for May.

Either way, 2019 is going to be another huge year for this campaign (we’ll make sure of it). It has never been harder to be a live sheep exporter than it is now. Let’s make 2019 the year we end it.

What can I do?

  • Take action now to call for an end to live sheep exports (it only takes seconds!)
  • We are assembling a dedicated action team to help fight live export cruelty in 2019. To register your interest in critical future actions, e-mail us at info@animalsaustralia.org.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay tuned for the latest updates and ways you can help.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s going to be another big year, and we can’t do this without you. Click here for a guide to becoming the best animal advocate you can.