One of the largest federal parliamentary e-petitions in history, that called for an end to the live sheep export trade, was tabled towards the end of November with Agriculture Minister Senator Murray Watt, confirming the government’s commitment to an ‘orderly and considered’ transition away from the trade.
In acknowledging ‘considerable community concerns about animal welfare in the trade of live sheep’, Watt said he understood the desire to see action.
“The government took the commitment to phase out live sheep exports by sea to two elections, and it’s my intention to deliver on this commitment, although the phase out won’t take place during this term of the parliament, giving time for individuals and businesses to prepare for a transition away from the trade,” he said.
Suzie Fowler, RSPCA Australia’s Chief Science Officer welcomed the government’s confirmation saying it was ‘on the right side of history’, but urged swift action be taken to introduce legislation in the current parliamentary term so the end of the trade was embedded in law before the next federal election.
“Now that the independent panel has provided their report to government there should be no impediment to introducing and passing legislation as soon as possible in this term to improve welfare for Australian sheep, meet the community’s expectations, and provide certainty for farmers,” she said.