A live export cattle cow

Investigating and exposing the cruelty of live animal export.

Animals Australia has conducted dozens of investigations that reveal the cruel reality of the live animal export trade.

Every year hundreds of millions of animals around the world are exported live for slaughter. They not only suffer on lengthy sea journeys but our investigations have revealed the terrible fate that can await them in destination countries.

Animals Australia – and our global arm, Animals International – has conducted dozens of investigations throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. We’ve not only tracked the treatment of Australian animals but those from South America and Europe, providing evidence to and supporting colleague groups in their efforts to end the trade from their countries.

Our investigations have resulted in dozens of major media exposés, in Australia and overseas. But it was our 2011 investigation in Indonesia that led to the biggest public outcry and forced the Australian government to regulate the live trade for the very first time.

Animals Australia’s investigations over two decades have dragged this industry out of the shadows and forced an unprecedented level of public and political scrutiny and accountability on export companies that for far too long acted as a law unto themselves.

sheep looking out of over crowded live export truck

Since our first investigations:

  • World-first regulations have been introduced to make export companies legally accountable for the animals they sell
  • The worst abuses systemic to the trade such as the ‘roping’ slaughter of cattle and car-boot transport of sheep have been outlawed
  • Trade suspensions and even permanent bans have been instituted in multiple countries
  • A ban on exporting sheep from Australia into the Northern summer was implemented after evidence revealed sheep ‘cooking alive’ inside live export ships
  • Australia’s most prolific export company – responsible for the suffering of millions of sheep over decades – had their export licence cancelled
  • 4 million fewer sheep are being exported from Australia annually
A sheep looking from a pen of live export ship with an appeal of mercy
  • We’ve taken the live export regulator to the Federal court, and won – challenging a decision that allowed the export of a sheep shipment
  • The biggest petition ever in the history of the Australian parliament was lodged, containing hundreds of thousands of signatures from Australians calling for a live export ban
  • The Australian Labor Party announced a policy commitment to phase out the live sheep trade if elected
  • We’ve helped colleagues in South Africa and Namibia mount legal challenges against the trade and collaborated with groups in 35 countries to assist their efforts to end live export
A live export cattle cow
Sheep on a truck in sale yard australia
Sheep on a truck in sale yard australia
  • We’ve secured a critical European Parliamentary Inquiry which will help determine the future of the live trade from Europe
  • We’ve commissioned significant economic analysis in Australia and Romania (Europe’s biggest exporting nation) which confirm live export is not important to the economy, quashing industry arguments in support of the trade
  • Hundreds of thousands of people have fronted rallies in Australia and around the world calling for live export to end
  • We’ve mounted numerous public awareness campaigns in Australia, Israel and Romania giving a face – and a voice – to the victims of live export

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Lyn White at a live export rally with people holding up placards against live export

To this day, Animals Australia has remained the ‘watchdog’ of the live export industry, lodging scores of legal complaints revealing exporters breaching regulations. Few have faced any meaningful sanctions.

This is a ruthless, global industry that treats living, feeling beings as nothing more than cargo.

Live export is simply another way for wealthy companies to transport ‘meat’ but the ‘vehicle’ is a living being who feels and suffers. The live export trade is not only cruel but it’s unnecessary as every country that imports live animals, also imports chilled and frozen meat.

Whether they are from Australia, South America or Europe, while any animal continues to be exposed to all the known risks of live export — and with most still enduring fully conscious slaughter in importing countries — Animals Australia’s efforts to end this trade will continue.