IN THE NEWS: On AUG 14, 2011
Thousands of people turned out at rallies around the country on Sunday calling on federal MPs to support a ban on live animal exports.
Live animal exports resumed this month after a temporary ban following footage depicting animal cruelty that aired on the ABC's Four Corners program.
At capital cities around the nation on Sunday, protesters gathered to show their support for two private member's bills being introduced into Federal Parliament later this week proposing to ban the practice.
In Canberra, RSPCA chief scientist Dr Bidda Jones said it was a cruel trade that should be stopped.
"It can be done better in Australia," she said.
"It's ridiculous we're exporting live animals - we're exporting Australian jobs every time we do that."
In Melbourne, RSPCA president Dr Hugh Wirth said MPs should get a conscience vote on the issue, as party politics was stifling the debate.
"I believe that's the only way to get the truth out of our politicians," he said.
"All of them at the moment are refusing to say yay or nay because of party politics. If they're released from that, they'll speak their own mind."
Some people in the Melbourne crowd wept as Animals Australia investigator Lyn White recalled some of the cruelty she had witnessed at slaughterhouses in Indonesia and the Middle East.
"I have stood in front of workers in a Dubai marketplace to stop them from throwing Australian sheep three metres through the air like bags of wheat," she told the crowd.
"I have stood in Indonesian slaughterhouses for six consecutive nights witnessing a level of brutality to animals that I hoped I would never see from our fellow human beings.
"This is not about animal rights, this is about ending human wrongs."
More than 1,000 people gathered in Brisbane's CBD to protest, with a similar number in Adelaide.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon told the Adelaide crowd that Australia should transition away from live exports.
"The industry will give you a thousand reasons why we can't stop it. They say that we can't process meat here, even though that would mean creating value and creating jobs for our nation," he said.
"The right thing to do is give people a conscience vote.
"We need to have a transitional approach to this so that over three years, in accordance with the RSPCA's views on this, you can transition out of this industry."
Among the crowd in Sydney was Jill Trotter, who said she felt strongly about live animal exports.
"There's no need to send live animals overseas, it just doesn't have to happen and there are humane ways of killing animals," she said.
"They would have known that this was going on in Indonesia for a long time and that's what is really sad."
The Government says appropriate measures are in place to ensure welfare standards are met.