IN THE NEWS: On MAY 12, 2019
Live export ships carrying sheep have left Australian ports 29 times since a bill to stop the trade failed to gain the support of parliament last year.
As political support to end the trade continues to mount, Labor has said it will prioritise the phasing out of sheep exports during the northern hemisphere summer months over five years, if it wins government.
A bill to restrict the long haul export of live sheep and lambs, including trips by ship that exceed 10 days, passed the Senate in September last year — but failed to get the numbers in the Lower House to bring on a vote.
As summer in the northern hemisphere is just weeks away, Labor candidate for Adelaide, Steve Georganas, said it was important his party introduced and passed a new bill to phase out the trade "as quickly as possible" when parliament returns.
"We know the science would be saying it should be stopped immediately in the summer months, and then start the process to ban live sheep exports," Mr Georganas said.
Between September and March this year, Commonwealth data reveals 29 ships carrying live sheep have left Australian ports.
A heat stress review has also been completed but is yet to be released by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
Mr Georganas, who said he receives up to 30 emails a day about the issue, said it will be his priority to stop the trade, and work with the exporters so the policy does not have adverse affects on the industry and jobs.
"The Australian public want to see live sheep exports stopped, it's cruel and its inhumane," he said.
However in the Upper House, at least seven of 19 parties vying for two available SA Senate spots do not support a ban.
Australian Livestock Exporters' Council CEO, Mark Harvey-Sutton, said they were opposed to Labor's policy which would result in almost 30 per cent — or $250 million worth — of all live exports phased out.
He has called on any new government not to rush any policy implementation saying that all exporters have voluntarily agreed to stop shipping between June 1 and August 30 this year.
"There is no way that that policy can't have an adverse economic impact (on the industry)," Mr Harvey-Sutton said.
"There are positive animal welfare stories to be told."
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said more than 900,000 sheep had been shipped overseas for slaughter since April last year when a massive public campaign to end the trade began.
"We will use our numbers in the Senate to support legislation that ends the cruelty," Senator Hanson-Young said.
"We can end this cruel trade, and support our farmers and meat processing workers through a smooth transition to chilled meat exports."
A Coalition spokesman said a re-elected Morrison government will continue to support our export industries and Australian farmers, and was working with them to improve animal welfare outcomes.
"About 10,000 jobs and the livelihoods of farmers and regional businesses depend on the trade," he said.