The 4000 sheep from West Australia died due to heat stress on a Livestock Shipping Services shipment to Qatar and the UAE. It is the worst animal disaster at sea in recent history and another damning example of how the government continues to fail animals in the live export trade. The only solution to end this horrific suffering is to put an end to live exports and rebuild our domestic meat manufacturing by moving to chilled box meat exports. Such a move would protect animal welfare, create local jobs and boost our economy. Around 20,000 sheep die on ships each year – from heat stress, illness, injury and failing to eat the unfamiliar food on board – before they even reach their destination country. If this many sheep died during transport to an abattoir in Australia each year, those responsible would be prosecuted. The fact that record boxed lamb shipments were sent to the Middle East in the last fiscal year, after exports to Bahrain were cancelled due to a breach of regulations, is proof that there is a viable alternative. In 2013 the 170,000 tonnes of boxed chilled red meat that went to the Middle East brought in about $780 million dollars for Australia's red meat industries.
Live animal export cruelty must end. In order to provide Australian farmers with certainty, the Government needs to start investing in infrastructure to allow meat to be processed in Australia and increase boxed meat exports.