A woolly sheep in a grassy field.

The Australian Government has voted: live sheep exports will end by May 2028.

This announcement is history in the making.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated July 1, 2024

This vote signals the beginning of the end of an industry that has caused immense animal suffering.

It’s taken dozens of investigations, irrefutable evidence of animal cruelty, high-profile media exposés, and hundreds of thousands of Australians calling for change to bring us to this moment: a landmark vote in the Federal parliament to ban live sheep export.

United in grief and compassion for animals, caring Australians have rallied in their thousands in every capital city, demanding an end to the live trade – thank you for getting us to this monumental vote for sheep.

This achievement is decades in the making…

2012 live export rally Melbourne
Lyn White and Shatha Hamade represent animals at Federal Court, news microphones are in front of them.
ABC 730 Thumbnail with the presenter speaking and an image that reads EXPOSING CRUELTY in the background

…and you helped make it possible.

You helped us shine a light on cruelty

Animals Australia’s first investigation in 2003 provided the Australian public and politicians with their first-ever insight into the cruel reality of live sheep export in destination countries. It was routine for sheep to be tied to roof racks, and stuffed into car boots in suffocating heat, only to then face the terror and pain of fully conscious slaughter.

You helped us reach the masses

Our live export investigations have received unprecedented national media coverage, stripping away the veil of secrecy that had protected this cruel trade for far too long. Finally, an industry that had operated as a ‘law-unto-itself’ could be scrutinised and caring eyes could see the suffering animals were enduring.

You helped uncover suffering at sea

Footage showing sheep stuck in melted hot faeces, suffering extreme heat stress and literally ‘cooking alive’ at sea sparked a strong public and political backlash. Such horrific suffering was well-known to industry, but thanks to a brave whistleblower, the disturbing reality for sheep on live export ships was finally revealed.

You helped us set landmark precedents

Animals Australia’s investigations have led to a ban on the live sheep trade to Egypt and trade suspensions to multiple countries. We also won a landmark Federal court case against the Commonwealth live export regulator when we challenged a decision that allowed the export of a sheep shipment.

You helped us be the industry ‘watchdog’

Since 2012, we’ve lodged 76 legal complaints exposing the unwillingness of exporters to follow the rules, and fortifying the political case for the trade to end.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A close up of a sheep with Animals Australia CEO Glenys Oogjes in the background.

Thank you for never giving up on them!

Of course, until the last animal leaves our shores, our work to end the live trade for good is not done. But today marks significant progress towards a world where sensitive animals are extended respect and protection, and not treated as mere ‘commodities’ from which to profit.

Since our first investigation, the number of sheep exported live by sea each year has dropped millions – from 6 million annually to around 500,000.

Within the next four years, this number will be zero.

If you are in Australia, send a quick message to decision-makers who voted in favour of ending the trade to let them know how much their bold and compassionate stance means to you and the animals.