New push to address live export cruelty

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 24 August 2011

New hope for animals as Labor backbenchers seek to end the worst abuses in the live export trade.

UPDATE: 11th October 2011
— despite encouragement from no fewer than 60,000 Australians, and pleas from caring MPs, the Labor caucus fails to mandate stunning for exported animals. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has vowed to submit new legislation to Parliament to protect the welfare of animals while live export continues… Read more.

The vote on two Bills in parliament last week could have heralded an end to the cruellest trade in Australia. Instead, it revealed the tragic consequences of both major parties’ policies to support the live export trade. Without a conscience vote, these policies forced MPs who oppose the abhorrent trade to vote down the legislation under threat of expulsion from their party.

This follows the woefully inadequate conditions put in place by Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig for the resumption of the live trade to Indonesia — a ‘supply chain assurance’ which fails to protect animals from being brutally slaughtered while fully conscious.

Vision from Animals Australia’s investigation on Four Corners showing animals writhing in pain after having their throats cut was the catalyst for a massive public backlash that forced the suspension of live exports to Indonesia in June. It was therefore completely unacceptable that the Government’s criteria for the resumption of trade neglected to ensure that animals would be stunned. Also alarming is that plans currently being drawn up for other export markets — where brutal slaughter of our sheep and cattle also occurs — are not expected to require our animals to be stunned.

Despite the disappointing result of last week’s vote, Labor MPs and Senators who oppose live export are still working hard to secure better protection for animals to eliminate some of the worst suffering whilst live exports continue.

Encouraged by a flood of emails and phone calls from the public, MP Tony Zappia submitted a ‘notice of motion’ to the Labor caucus this week with new proposed restrictions that would prevent Australian animals from being exported to any country unless it could be guaranteed that they would be stunned before slaughter. Zappia’s motion was set to trigger a debate on live export policy in caucus on 20th September, but was then deferred until October 11. The motion will give Labor MPs a critical opportunity to bring Labor policy closer in line with public expectations and to put in place measures that will prevent thousands — perhaps millions — of animals from being subjected to the most brutal slaughter imaginable.

While decades of industry spin and ‘training programs’ have failed to prevent the extreme cruelty exposed by Animals Australia, this new motion could become the first substantial move within Government to force real improvements to animal welfare within the live export industry.

If adopted, the motion will also put a stop to the live export industry’s reckless expansion into new markets without caring about the consequences that animals will face — such as the brutality exposed by Animals Australia’s recent investigation in Turkey.

As the recent debacle that saw hundreds of sheep die on a broken down live export ship in the Port of Adelaide so clearly reveals, live animal export is inherently cruel and poses unacceptable risks to animals at all stages. This is why Animals Australia will continue to campaign for a complete end to the live export trade.

If the Gillard Government passes legislation to help protect the welfare of animals in importing countries, it will be the first Government to do so. Countless animals could be spared a brutal death if this new motion is passed by Labor MPs and Senators. A resounding call of support from Australian voters now will help convince Labor to enshrine these critical measures into federal law.


Please send an urgent message today expressing your continued opposition to live export while appealing on the ALP to immediately adopt the motion to prevent the worst abuses inflicted upon millions of animals exported from Australia every year.

  1. Short on time? Click here to send an instant pre-written letter.
  2. Or, add weight to your message by sending a personalised e-mail. Select your state and then copy and paste the e-mail addresses below into your e-mail program to send a message to all Labor MPs and Senators in your state:

  3. To make an even stronger impression, follow up with a phone call. Click here for the phone numbers of the offices of Labor MPs.