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For decades, Australians have been calling for an end to live-animal exports, and now, after recent footage was released showing the horrifying conditions endured by animals sent to the Middle East, we're closer than ever to stopping these boats crammed full of sheep from leaving our shores.
© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
Every year, Australia exports millions of live animals to countries in the Middle East, subjecting them to a gruelling trip across the Indian Ocean, sometimes in searing heat, that may take weeks. Many die from dehydration, starvation, or disease – others are trampled to death in the crush of bodies.
The suffering doesn't end for those who survive the journey at sea. There are virtually no laws in place in the Middle East to protect these animals, and they're often subjected to abuse and methods of slaughter that would be illegal in this country. Investigators have seen animals being roughly dragged from ships and thrown into trucks and cars, and most often, their throats are cut while they're still conscious.
Two pieces of legislation have the potential to change the fate of millionsof sheep. Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Sussan Ley has introduced a private member's bill to the House of Representatives that would ban live-sheep exports to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere's summer months in 2019 – and would see the entire sector phased out within five years. While the bill has the support of the Labor Party, some crossbenchers, and other Liberal MPs, an absolute majority is needed in order to pass it through Parliament.
The second piece of legislation is the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-Haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018, which has been introduced to the Senate and would also ultimately phase out all live-sheep and lamb long-haul ship voyages. Once passed in the Senate, this bill would need support in the House of Representatives in order to become law.
Every vote counts. Please speak out against this cruelty by asking your local MP to support these legislative initiatives to end live exports.