Australia To Ban Live Sheep Exports By Sea From May 1, 2028

Livestock carrier
Image for representation purposes only

In a significant move to address animal welfare issues, the Australian government announced a ban on live sheep exports by sea from May 1, 2028.

This decision fulfils the Labor government’s long-standing commitment to ending a practice that animal welfare organisations have long criticised.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt reiterated the government’s commitment to provide certainty to sheep producers and the supply chain by introducing laws to enforce the prohibition during the current federal parliamentary session.

The law will put an end to a trade that has received widespread criticism, especially for the treatment of animals on long sea voyages.

The proposal includes a transition support package of $107 million over five years to help people affected by the industry’s decline, especially sheep producers.

Minister Watt emphasised the necessity of assisting, allowing individuals and businesses to begin planning and adapting to the upcoming shifts.

Despite assurances of support, the initiative caused worry in the farming community.

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) was shocked by the timescale for its phase-out.

NFF CEO Tony Mahar criticised the decision, claiming it might severely affect farming communities.

Australia’s live sheep trade, primarily based in Western Australia, has recently declined.

Last year, the country exported 684,000 sheep worth almost $50 million, with the majority going to the Middle East, including Kuwait, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.

The decision to prohibit live sheep exports by the sea comes after years of campaigning from animal rights organisations, which have long advocated for more robust welfare standards and an end to the practice.

Public outrage over occurrences such as the loss of 2,400 sheep due to heat stress in 2018 and a recent incident with a stranded ship carrying thousands of animals have prompted demands for action.

While the phase-out will impact the live sheep export industry, it does not affect other livestock export industries, such as live sheep exports by air or live cattle exports.

The government’s decision reflects a broader movement toward stricter animal welfare and trade regulations.

As the nation prepares for this significant transformation, stakeholders are encouraged to use existing support services and resources to help them navigate the transition.

The administration is still committed to ensuring an effortless and orderly transition for all individuals affected by the prohibition on live sheep exports by sea.

Reference: DAFF

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