Australia’s Labor party has confirmed that, if it wins this month’s federal election, it will finally put an end to the country’s live sheep export industry.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Australia exports around three million sheep every year. Most go to North Africa or the Middle East.
The animals endure long journeys on crowded, cramped ships before they are slaughtered at their end destinations. PETA states that during these trips, some sheep fall ill or experience heatstroke, extreme stress, or starvation.
In 2018, 2,400 sheep died of heat stress on a journey from Fremantle in Western Australia to the Middle East. At the time, Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud said he was “shocked and gutted.”
He noted that the incident was “deeply disturbing.”
The end of live sheep exports?
Back in 2019, the Labor party committed to phasing out the trade, which is worth around $92 million AUD. Now, the party has again spoken up on the issue as Australia heads towards its federal elections on May 22.
Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Australian Labor Party, rivals current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
A Labor statement reads: “An elected Albanese Labor government will phase out live sheep exports in consultation with the industry and the West Australian government on what needs to happen given this decline.”
The Animal Justice Party, an Australian animal rights-focused political party, has consistently campaigned for the end of the live sheep export trade.
In an Instagram post announcing Labor’s confirmation, the group wrote: “Victory is within our sights. We are overjoyed that these beautiful, innocent animals will be spared the living hell that is live export.”
After urging followers to vote for the Animal Justice Party, the post continued: “We won’t stop fighting till there is a full ban on all animal exports. So let’s get a voice for animals into federal parliament.”