This week Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi introduced a bill to legislate the phase-out of live sheep exports by sea, a move welcomed by Humane Society International (HSI) Australia. The bill would help safeguard the welfare of tens of thousands of sheep. 

The Albanese Government has committed to phase-out live sheep exports by sea but has yet to release details for the phase out and set a date for the trade to end. HSI Australia has been calling for the Government to legislate the date this year. The Greens bill would set a deadline of 1 May 2026. 

Humane Society International Australia’s Head of Campaigns, Nicola Beynon said, “Exporting live sheep across vast oceans is inescapably bad for their welfare. Exposé after exposé has revealed the terrible suffering the animals endure. We welcome the bill from Greens Senator Faruqi to put an end to the cruelty. 

“All eyes are now on the Federal Labor Government to turn words into legislation. HSI Australia asks the Albanese Government to support Senator Faruqi’s bill or announce their own plans to end the trade without further delay. Everyone needs the certainty of a phase-out date to allow for a smooth transition by industry, and spare further unnecessary animal suffering.”  

The cruel reality of the live export trade has made the headlines already this year after a voyage to the Middle East carrying thousands of sheep was aborted due to the conflict in the Red Sea. The 15,000 sheep were returned and stranded on the ship in a blistering Perth heat wave, spending a total of 40 days trapped onboard. These same poor sheep now face the prospect of re-export.   

Ms Beynon continued, “The MV Bahijah incident is another distressing reminder of the unacceptably high risks of the trade to animal welfare. We can’t allow tens of thousands more sheep to suffer in the hands of the live export trade. One way or other this year, the Albanese Government needs to make sure that the Parliament legislates the end date for the trade.”  

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