Two cute lambs together behind a tree.

Have your say: ending live sheep export.

The Albanese government is bringing the live sheep export trade to an end! An expert panel has been appointed to recommend when and how the phase-out should occur.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated June 1, 2023

UPDATE: Submissions have now closed.

Thank you to those who took this important opportunity to speak up on behalf of sheep. Over 3,000 responses were submitted in total, and feedback will now be considered by the independent panel. The panel’s recommendations on how and when the phase-out of live sheep export by sea will occur will be presented by 30 September 2023.

You can continue to be a voice for sheep during this critical time. Please urge the government to end the live sheep trade as soon as possible here.

The Australian Government has committed to phase out the live export of sheep by sea. And now every Australian has an opportunity to help determine how soon this will happen. Here are some tips on making your submission.

The public consultation runs until May 31st and invites feedback on the logistics and timeframe of the phase-out. Specifically, the expert panel driving this process is seeking input on:

  • how the government should phase out live sheep exports by sea
  • the timeframe to implement the phase out
  • how the phase out will impact exporters, farmers and other businesses across the supply chain
  • support and adjustment options for those impacted by the phase out
  • opportunities, including options to expand domestic processing and increase sheep meat exports
  • any other general comments

For more details you can read the consultation discussion paper, fact sheet and terms of reference.

Importantly, the government has made it clear that this consultation will not consider the merits of the government’s policy to end the trade. This is about how and when not if.

Making your submission

Feedback must be lodged online, either by uploading your submission or filling out the online survey.

TIP The survey asks specific questions relevant to farm businesses and supply chains. If you can’t answer a question just write n/a and move on. There is still an opportunity to share general comments at the end. If your comments are more general – as a concerned member of the community – it may be preferable to write a letter and upload it.

Key points to include

The phase-out must begin and end as soon as possible. Every delay means more sheep subjected to inexcusable suffering – from the daily stresses of sea transport to fully conscious slaughter in importing countries. In your own words, these are key points you could consider including in your submission:

  • Share your views about live sheep export and that you support the phase-out.
  • Note that Australians want certainty that this trade will end. That the phase-out be legislated and commences in this term of parliament. And that it begins and ends as soon as possible.
  • Consider noting your support for farmers to receive government support to help them to transition.
  • You could mention the impact of this trade on Australia’s international reputation as a fair and compassionate nation (perhaps noting New Zealand’s precedent in ending live export). You may also make the point that defending this trade undermines public trust in Australia’s agricultural sector.
  • If you supported Labor last election because of this policy, feel free to note that too.
  • While the merits of the government’s policy to end the trade are not being considered – you may still want to talk about animal welfare. That this trade is inherently cruel – and even when all regulations are followed, sheep still suffer heat stress at sea and painful un-stunned slaughter overseas.

Once you’ve written your submission in a word document, you can upload it here.


This image contains content which some may find confronting

Lyn White at a live export rally with people holding up placards against live export
Australians have spoken. And finally, an Australian government has listened. Live sheep exports will end. It's now simply a matter of how and when. Be sure to have your say by May 31st.

A kinder future without live export

Animals Australia’s first live export investigation in 2003 lifted the lid on the suffering of sheep endemic to this trade.  It would take dozens more  investigations throughout the Middle East, multiple major media exposés, and a shipping catastrophe that rocked the nation, before an Australian government agreed to bring it to an end.

Every caring Australian who has rallied in the streets, lobbied their MP or been a voice for these animals has brought us to this day: a day when it is not a matter of if  but when live sheep export will end.

Our job now is to bring that day as close as possible. Thank you for making your submission and lending your voice to sheep one final time.