This media release was distributed by the Australian Alliance for Animals, of which HSI Australia is a member.

Leading animal welfare organisations are calling on the Albanese Government to honour its election commitment to phase out live sheep exports in an open letter requesting a definitive end date to be announced in next month’s Federal Budget.


The coalition of organisations said the Budget presents an ideal time for the government to act by allocating funds to support the transition to the chilled meat trade, providing certainty to the agricultural industry and trading partners, and protecting the welfare of Australian sheep.

Australian Alliance for Animals spokesperson Dr Jed Goodfellow, said Australians applauded Labor when they committed to phase out live sheep exports as part of their 2022 Federal Election campaign, and have since been eagerly awaiting legislation to commence the transition.

“The Albanese Government is almost in its third year in power and has still not legislated the date to phase out live sheep exports, despite repeatedly promising decisive action for over six years,” said Dr Goodfellow.

“In 2018, shocking footage aired on Australian television revealing the suffering sheep had endured for decades during export to the Middle East. So, when Labor promised to phase out the trade, Australians felt a deep sense of relief that action would finally be taken to stop the inherent cruelty that is associated with live sheep exports.

“The chilled and frozen lamb and mutton trade would strengthen rural economies, create new jobs and provide producers with a profitable and secure income stream. This transition would also see tens of thousands of Australian sheep spared from arduous conditions of a long sea journey and the fear and pain of being slaughtered without stunning,” Dr Goodfellow said.

Live sheep exports have been in structural decline for decades, dropping to less than a tenth of its size in the 1990s.

“This is about providing an orderly transition to a more humane and sustainable future, and we would support any government assistance for the industry to make that change happen sooner rather than later.

“We all expected the Albanese Labor Government to move quickly to deliver on their promise when they were elected two years ago, every delay to the phase out means more animals will suffer at sea and will be slaughtered in conditions we have no real control over.

“Australians want the government to end the live sheep export trade. It is now time for Labor to deliver on their promise and legislate the date.”


  • Australians overwhelmingly support the Federal Government’s policy to phase out live sheep exports by sea (78%, McCrindle, 2022)
  • Almost 44,000 Australians signed a Parliamentary petition – one of the largest official e-Petitions in history – calling on the government to legislate the date to end the cruel trade as soon as possible (August 2023)
  • The live export trade is in long-term structural decline and accounts for 0.1% of Australia’s agricultural exports
  • Australian chilled sheep meat exports are 58 times the value of the live sheep export trade ($4.5 billion v $77 million, 22/23, ABS).
  • The chilled sheep meat export trade to the Middle East alone is 8 times the value of the
    entire live sheep export trade ($632 million v $77 million, 22/23, ABS).



Media contact: Bron Matherson, 0438 844 765

Dr Goodfellow is available for interviews:

Dr Jed Goodfellow leads the Alliance’s law and policy reform agenda. He has over 20 years’
experience in animal welfare law, policy and advocacy. He completed his PhD in animal welfare
regulation in 2015.

About the Australian Alliance for Animals
The Australian Alliance for Animals is a national charity leading a strategic alliance of Australia’s key animal protection organisations with a combined supporter base of over 2 million people. Core members include Animals Australia, Humane Society International Australia, World Animal Protection Australia, Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS Australia, and Voiceless, the animal protection institute. Website:

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