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MP argues that the welfare of sheep could decline if live export is banned

The debate surrounding the live export of sheep has intensified, with both political sides advocating for the welfare of the animals.

Australia’s leading organization for sheep producers has strongly criticized a parliamentary committee decision approving Labor’s proposed ban on live sheep exports.

In a joint statement, Sheep Producers Australia and Wool Producers Australia denounced Friday’s decision as “rushed, unprofessional, and thoughtless.”

This development occurred as Parliament debated the live export motion on June 24, with both factions deliberating on the well-being of sheep.

CEO of Sheep Producers Australia, Bonnie Skinner, expressed concerns about the potential shutdown of a vital supply chain that supports jobs, families, small businesses, and rural towns.

“The committee’s endorsement of the Labor government’s live sheep export ban at sea is both astonishing and disrespectful,” Skinner stated.

Parliamentary discussions on the bill emphasized the welfare of sheep and its impact on producers and communities.

Labor MP Melissa Price supported the bill, stating that Australians believe that live export is not in the animals’ best interests.

“Australians expect the highest standards of animal welfare in our country,” Price emphasized.

Price referred to an incident where the ship MV Bahijah was holding sheep to Jordan but had to return due to security concerns—leading to a five-week ordeal for the animals before they were eventually removed from the ship.

Arguments For and Against Sheep Export Discussed in Parliament

Member for Durack in Western Australia, Melissa Price, cited examples of animal suffering during live export and highlighted the need for a transition away from this practice by May 1, 2028.

Nationals member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, rebutted Price’s arguments, stating that Australia had implemented stringent measures to ensure animal welfare during live export.

He expressed concerns that banning live export would create a void in the market that other countries with lower animal welfare standards could fill.

Sheep Producers Australia also criticized the government’s transition package, claiming it failed to meet the objectives outlined by the government.

The Australian government has allocated $107 million towards transitioning away from live sheep exports.

The motion will be revisited during the next sitting of Parliament.

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