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Labor holds off on banning live sheep exports

Labor holds off on banning live sheep exports  article image

Labor will not ban the live sheep trade in its first term of government, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has declared.

Just weeks before the federal election, Labor confirmed its plan to end Australia's $92 million live sheep trade, which it claimed had been in decline for 20 years.

However, “no one was envisaging a phase out in this term of government,” Mr Albanese told ABC radio in a recent interview.

The ban was sparked by Labor’s animal welfare concerns.

"We need also to make sure that animal welfare issues are looked after," Mr Albanese said.

"So, look, we'll work through those issues to make sure that there's certainty going forward."

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment figures show 552,957 sheep were exported by sea in 2021, while air exports accounted for 22,572, with one mortality recorded among air transports.

No plans to ban cattle exports

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has confirmed the government plans to ban live sheep exports by air and sea.

However, he says the new government has "absolutely have no plans to end or phase out the live cattle export trade."

Many live cattle exporters were ruined following the Gillard Labor Government’s abrupt decision to suspend live cattle exports to Indonesia 11 years ago.

According to the ABC, Senator Watt's comments about a ban on live sheep exports by air came as a surprise to the Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Mark Harvey-Sutton.

Mr Harvey-Sutton said he would seek further clarification.

"If it's true, I think it does further point to the unnecessary nature of the policy," he said.

"Air performance is one of the best ways to transport livestock going around. So, to try and implement a phase out of that strikes me as completely unnecessary."

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