Australia to ban live exports in 2028, government offers $107-M package

Australia to ban live exports in 2028, government offers $107-M package

MAY 1, 2028, is perhaps a victorious day for animal welfare advocates and a day of mourning for farmers as it marks the end of the live sheep exports trade which became their source of livelihood for decades.

Live animal shipments in Australia can be traced to as early as 1829 while the opening of large cattle stations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia dates back to the 1880s when the potential of exports to Asian markets was discovered.

The federal government announced a $107 million transition package for the industry which will last for five years.

The closure of live exports was part of the election promise in 2022.

Agriculture minister Murray Watt said on Saturday the government would introduce the legislation this year after the industry repeatedly showed it was unable to meet the community’s expectations.

Live sheep exports in Australia have significantly declined from AUD$ 415 million in 2003 to AUD$77 million in 2023.

Calls to ban the industry intensified after the 2017 disaster where about 2,400 sheep died from heat stress onboard the Awassi Express, which was carrying sheep bound for the Middle East.

Additionally, about 16,000 or more sheep and cattle on board the livestock vessel MV Bahijah were forced to return to Western Australia in January after its crew members received a warning that it could be targeted by Houthi rebels due to its connection to Israel.

Several sheep reportedly died on board due to extreme heat after weeks of getting stranded in Australia.


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