Live Exports

Wednesday 06 Jun 2018

Sign the petition and send a message to Turnbull - end the cruelty now.

A Shorten Government will at the first opportunity, put an end to the northern summer live sheep trade.  The science is clear:  the live summer trade and animal welfare standards are not reconcilable.

Labor has also committed to phasing out the balance of the trade in a period no longer than five years.  The transition period will allow us to work with farmers, unions and industry on a Strategic Red Meat Industry Plan to do more value-adding here in Australia.  More processing here will be good for farmers, good for animal welfare standards and good for the Australian economy.

During the transition period, we will put in place a regulatory regime with the highest standards, proper oversight and appropriate sanction for breaches.  We also remain committed to our 6 Point Plan for Animal Welfare.

We hold a different view of the live cattle sector where the voyages are typically shorter, the climate cooler and standards are higher.  The live cattle trade sector is much larger than the live sheep industry and many northern producers unable to grow cattle to slaughter weight depend entirely upon it.  Voyages have been largely incident-free since the Gillard Government introduced the exporter supply chain regulatory regime in 2011.

We do hope though that Labor’s Strategic Red Meat Industry Plan will encourage the slaughter of more cattle in Australian meatworks creating more regional jobs.


A Shorten Labor Government will:


  1. Establish an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare

We will establish the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare as an independent statutory position operating from within the Department of Agriculture. The Inspector-General will be responsible for advising on the protection of animals in all Commonwealth regulated activities, and will report directly to the Minister of the day on issues like live exports, animal welfare standards and guidelines. The Inspector will also work with the States and Territories to establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare to oversee animal protection and welfare activities nationally. 

  1. Re-establish state and territory cooperation on animal welfare matters

Under the previous Labor Government, the Commonwealth, States and Territories cooperated on animal welfare and primary industry issues through a range of official forums which have since been abolished by the Abbott-Turnbull Government. Labor will re-establish State and Territory cooperation to ensure animal welfare matters receive the consistent national approach they deserve.    

  1. Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy

Labor will work with State and Territory governments, industry and animal welfare groups to update and renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy for the coming decade. We will draw on the best available research and evidence to develop a strategy that confirms Australia as a leader in our region for the care and protection of animals.

  1. Review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System

The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System plays a critical role in reassuring Australian agricultural producers, their customers and the broader community that animal welfare is being protected at every stage from the farm gate to the plate. In Government, Labor will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the system to ensure it is working as effectively and efficiently as possible.

  1. Provide more transparency and accountability

Under Labor, the Minister for Agriculture will provide quarterly reports to the Parliament on:

  • New and emerging markets.
  • The number of head exported.
  • Any allegations of breaches of animal welfare standards and investigations undertaken.
  • Any sanctions or other action taken for breaches of Australia’s animal welfare standards.
  1. Ban animal testing for cosmetics within Australia and the importation or sale of new products tested on animals overseas

The tragic death of Miss Dhu