A portrait of a sheep looking towards camera

Live export update: ESCAS continues to fail Australian sheep.

Animals Australia's undercover investigators have witnessed a blatant disregard for live export regulations overseas which has exposed countless sheep to brutal slaughter.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated June 26, 2023

This time last week, we stood in front of a Federal Court Judge to request an urgent trial in a final desperate attempt to force action to help Australian sheep – this time in Oman.

What Animals Australia investigators recently discovered in Oman can only be described as a total disregard for Australian live export rules – exposing countless animals to brutal slaughter. We have lodged six complaints with the live export regulator, the Federal Department of Agriculture. This marks our 72nd legal complaint since regulations were put in place 11 years ago, further reinforcing that export companies cannot be trusted to police their own activities. 

Our calls to the Regulator to direct relevant export companies to purchase sheep in non-approved premises and return them to approved supply chains have been ignored. While we were granted a trial, it became clear that time had run out for these animals. A month of regulator and exporter inaction had already sealed their fate. 

Meanwhile in Australia, the industry’s PR machine has been in full swing – pitching a story of reform to rally support against the Albanese government’s planned phase-out of live sheep exports. 

Overseas, the sheep they are responsible for are having their throats cut on crude concrete slabs. 

And once again, the only reason that anybody – including the Commonwealth regulator –  is aware that live export regulations are being flagrantly breached is because of an Animals Australia investigation. This damning situation has now been exposed in national media. 

WATCH NOW: Animals Australia investigators have captured evidence of regulation breaches in Oman.

While we wait for a phase-out to be legislated, animals continue to suffer. 

It was evidence gathered by Animals Australia investigators that forced regulations that require animals to be kept within approved supply chains. Sheep are no longer allowed to be transported in utes and car boots or sold for home slaughter. 

Yet, our extensive evidence across 26 locations in Oman reveals these rules being ignored, with some sellers even confirming they receive a constant supply of Australian sheep – in breach of live export regulations. 

For well over a thousand Australian sheep, this will mean that they will bear the full consequences of the Festival of Sacrifice.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

An Australian sheep being dragged by their back leg in Oman.

Thousands of Australian sheep are set to be slaughtered outside the live export rules in Oman – and without our undercover investigators, the government would be completely unaware of these regulatory breaches. View the news story here.

Any other Australian industry would have been shut down long ago based on such a record of regulatory non-compliance...
Lyn White AM

While the Albanese government has committed to phase out live sheep exports, the mechanism by which they will do that (regulation or legislation) and the timeline is yet to be determined. An Independent Panel will make its recommendations to the government by the end of September. 

It’s imperative that the phase-out be legislated during this term of parliament. All of the evidence confirms that given ongoing exporter non-compliance in importing countries – and the ever-present risks for animals at sea – every day of delay will see more animals suffer. 

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