~Live Animal Export Trade~

~By Maddie~

~The Animals~

For animals, a step onto a live export ship can lead to a most cruel and harsh fate. The live export industry is an important part of Australia's livestock industry. There are two sides to this topic, both horrible and beneficial.

~Rules & Information~

Australia leads the world in welfare practices. The Australian government does not allow harsh actions towards animals. Our ongoing involvement in the livestock export trade provides an opportunity to influence animal welfare orders in importing countries. The government and the livestock export industry are working together with our trading partners to address post-arrival welfare concerns.

The department is funding a number of projects to improve animal handling and slaughter practices. The government has introduced laws that provide stronger rules of the livestock export industry. It was an important step for the government. Arrangements were made to ensure exported animals are well treated during road or sea transportation.

The ships must follow with strict rules for the animal export to keep running as they have been treated poorly in the past. Each animal must have access to food and water, enough space to lie down and special pens for sick animals to receive veterinary care.

Under the Australian Meat and Live-stock industry, a report on the carriage of livestock on any sea voyage to a port outside of Australia must be tabled in each House of Parliament every six months.

If the live trade fails, the drop in sheep and cattle prices and the loss of fund to our producers and their regional communities would be significant.

~Live Animal Export Trade~

~Live Trade vs Frozen/Chilled Meat~


Some will manage that Australia should stop the trade in preference for supplying frozen or chilled meat. While Australian meatworks have shown they can slaughter livestock according to religious requirements of our customers, the need for trade in live animals continues as some some markets have a cultural preference for slaughtered meat.


The Australian standards for the export of livestock (ASEL) defines a reportable mortality level on a voyage or air journey as, the percentages listed below or 3 animals, whichever is the greater number of animals-

  • Sheep and goats 2%
  • Cattle and buffalo on a voyage less than 10 days 0.5%
  • Cattle and buffalo on a voyage more than 10 days 1%
  • Camelids 2%
  • Deer 2%

~More information~

Australia has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with ten countries in the Middle East and Africa region and debates continue with other trading partners in the region. This will improve post arrival handling and slaughter.

Suggestions that the live trade could be completely replaced by chilled and frozen meat fails to take into account.

Even though Australia has developed a significant trade in meat products, the lack of refrigeration, as well as cultural preferences for slaughtered meat excludes Australia from servicing all of its export markets with processed meat products.

~Benefits of the Trade~

There are many benefits to the livestock industry, here are two of them.

The livestock export trade is of great importance to regional and rural Australia and basic to the red meat industry.

Since the mid 1970's the livestock export trade has grown significantly to become a basic component of Australian's agricultural export earnings


  • In 2009 the live export sector earned $996.5 million and underpinned the employment of around 10000 people in rural and regional Australia.
  • Australia is the only country that requires specific animal welfare outcomes for livestock exports.
  • In 2003 a broad-ranging investigation into Australia's livestock export industry chaired by Dr John Keniry recommended a range of initiatives to improve animal welfare conditions in the livestock export trade.
  • in the 2009-10 budget, the government announced the Live Trade Animal Welfare Partnership, which will invest $3.2 million over three years, including $1.g million from the government with matching support from Australian producers and livestock exporters to further improve animal welfare in, support trade with, overseas markets.