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“It was very pleasing to see the Federal Government finally commit to a plan to end live sheep exports by 1 May 2028, and to legislate the date before the next federal election,” Mr Wilkie said. “A $107 million support package in the upcoming Federal Budget is also welcome as it will help the industry and farmers transition and ensure that Australia can continue to have a sustainable sheep meat industry, without the cruelty.

“The barbaric nature of the live sheep export trade has always made it unsustainable and unpopular with the community. This announcement will ensure that there is no more suffering onboard long voyages and that we have no more animal welfare crises like we saw on the Awassi Express in 2017 and more recently on the MV Bahijah.

“However, I’m disappointed to see that it will be a free-for-all with no cap on the number of sheep that can be exported between now and the end date, and that live beef cattle exports will continue. Frankly the only way to end the cruelty of the live export trade is to end the trade entirely. Until that’s achieved, the animals will continue to suffer, meat processing jobs will continue to be lost to workers overseas, and Australia’s reputation as an ethical food producer will remain diminished.”