Australia Passes Historic Bill to End Live Sheep Exports

Australian Alliance for Animals

The Australian Senate has today passed historic legislation enshrining the phase out of live sheep exports into law.

The Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) Act 2024 prohibits exporting live sheep by sea from Australia by 1 May 2028 and unlocks a $107 million industry adjustment package.

Australian Alliance for Animals spokesperson Dr Jed Goodfellow welcomed the passage of the legislation describing it as a pivotal moment in the history of animal welfare in Australia.

"This legislation has been a long time coming for our members and their two-million-plus supporters who have been calling for an end to this cruel and unnecessary trade for decades,

"The tireless campaigning by advocates, in particular, the groundbreaking investigations by Animals Australia, and the courageous efforts of whistleblowers who risked their careers and more to expose the conditions faced by Australian animals onboard live export vessels, have finally been acknowledged today,

"We thank the Albanese Government for following through with its election commitment and promise to the Australian people, and we thank all members of parliament who voted for compassion and stood on the right side of history today," Dr Goodfellow said.

Australian Alliance for Animals Strategy Director Dr Bidda Jones AM, who has been campaigning to end live sheep exports for over two decades, said that witnessing the Australian Parliament vote for the interests of animals was a moment to cherish.

"In 1985, a Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare reported that, if a decision were to be made on the future of the trade purely on animal welfare grounds, there was enough evidence to stop the trade. Finally, that decision has been made.

"Ultimately, this outcome would not have been possible without the collective support of the Australian community – Australians care about the welfare of animals and they will respond accordingly when they see animals being subjected to pain, fear and distress,

"Exporting sheep live by sea to the Middle East for slaughter is fundamentally inhumane and completely unnecessary, so we are overjoyed to know that it will finally be coming to an end,

"Today, we have seen the compassion of the Australian people prevail."


  • The Independent Panel on the Phase out of Live Sheep Exports submitted its report to government on 25 October 2023 following a six month inquiry, which held 14 public forums attended by over 2,000 people in rural areas of WA, and received over 4,100 submissions, 80% of which supported the phase out
  • 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).


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