On the last week of Parliament for 2022, a “sheep” sailed on Canberra’s iconic city centre lake to send a message to the government to “ban all live exports now”.
The sheep, named Lucy, who had previously followed former Prime Minister Scott Morrison around on the campaign trail, waded into Lake Burley Griffin in a protest aimed at the Albanese government, whose plans to phase out live export only for sheep and not until at least a second term in office simply don’t go far enough.
Where does Australia stand on live exports?
Millions of cows, sheep, and other animals depart Australia on live-export ships every year. They’re forced to live on top of one another in a slurry of faeces, urine, and water. Seasick and unaccustomed to the pellets they’re given as food, many starve to death before reaching their destination.
And the suffering doesn’t end for those who survive the journey. Because virtually no laws protect animals in the countries they’re sold to, they’re often subjected to abuse and methods of slaughter that are illegal in Australia.
After decades of investigations and attempted regulation, the new Australian government announced during the campaign season that it would ban live-sheep exports. This was welcome news, but it’s now been more than six months since the election and no updates on a ban have been issued.
The government hasn’t committed to a timeline, stating only that a ban won’t be implemented within its first term of government. A three-year (or longer) phase-out of an industry with decades-long records of cruelty is far too long – plus, the government would need to be re-elected in order to fulfil its promise.
Jo-Anne McArthur / Eyes On Animals / We Animals Media
Sheep aren’t the only victims.
A 2021 PETA Asia investigation in Indonesia found Australian cattle being improperly stunned and killed in the most painful, abhorrent ways. Video footage shows that despite a government assurance scheme, cruelty is systemic in the industry.
A series of Australian governments have squandered time, taxpayer money, and animals’ lives by condoning a merciless, mercenary industry that Australians have long known must end.
Please call on federal Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt to commit to a timeline for banning all live exports within this term of government.