Federal Labor calls for an end to live sheep exports

Federal Labor calls for an end to live sheep exports

The Federal Labor party has called for an end to the live sheep export trade if it wins government at the next election.

The party says it will transition the industry away from the live export of Australian sheep into meat processing.

The live export industry has come under immense fire from animal rights organisations and the broader Australian public after horrific footage emerged of sheep dying on a voyage to the Middle East in 2016.

Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon told Sky News that the Labor party is committed to ending the cruel practice.

"We don't see a future for live sheep exports," says Fitzgibbon.

Labor has previously called for the end of the live export trade, but today stood by its position and has revealed its plans for the industry.

"If we can focus more on premium markets, chilled lamb for example, to those burgeoning middle class markets in Asia, we can lift the profitability of our farmers," says Fitzgibbon.

"This can be a win-win."

Currently, there is a review into the live export practice by veterinarian Michel McCarthy, which will be delivered in two weeks.

Despite the practice being obviously cruel and harmful to the animals involved, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud snapped back at Labor for prematurely developing its policy.

"With the science just two weeks away, Labor has rushed to a knee-jerk ban, punishing farmers who have done no wrong," says Littleproud.

"Those farmers and businesses still traumatised by Labor's snap ban on live exports in 2011 must be tearing their hair out."

READ our opinion on live export: There is little to be proud of in the wake of the live export controversy

Animals Australia and the RSPCA have also offered $1 million between them for sheep farmers if the government agrees to ditch the practice.

As Managing Editor of Business News Australia Camilla Jansen said, "there is little to be proud of in this situation".

"This issue goes beyond the argument about whether it is morally okay to eat animal products this is a question of corporate social responsibility, and legislators, and the Australian agricultural industry need to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they want the pointless deaths of thousands of innocent lives on their hands."

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