11 May 2024

RSPCA WA has welcomed the announcement of a live sheep export end date.

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said the industry will cease on 1 May 2028, with that date to be legislated and passed in this term of government.

RSPCA WA Chair, Lynne Bradshaw, said it’s an historic day for animal welfare in Australia.

“We have been working towards this outcome for decades,” Mrs Bradshaw said.

“I congratulate the Government for its considered decision which will put an end to unnecessary cruelty for millions of sheep.”

RSPCA WA has long maintained the science is undeniable when it comes to the inherent and unfixable problems in the live export trade.

“Australia’s live sheep trade has resulted in multiple animal welfare catastrophes and publicly documented cruelty over the past forty years, most recently the shambles of the MV Bahijah,” Mrs Bradshaw said.

“The four-year phase-out, accompanied by a $107m package to support producers and increase supply chain capacity means WA can still have a thriving sheep meat industry - minus the unnecessary cruelty of shipping live animals.”

“Other states and countries have successfully transitioned from this trade and there’s no reason why we can’t as well.

“In future, live export will be viewed as a shameful part of Australia’s past. Today’s announcement sets us on the path to the right side of history.”

The Federal Government accepted 23 of the live export phase-out panel’s 28 recommendations and noted another five.

Mrs Bradshaw said today’s announcement is in line with what most Australians want.

“Research shows that public support for a phase out is strong across Australia, including in WA, and importantly that support is broadly consistent in both rural and urban areas,” she said,

“Independent polling conducted by McCrindle in May 2023, shows 71 per cent of West Australians support the Australian Government’s policy to phase out live sheep export - 72 per cent in metro areas and 69 per cent in regional areas.”