Animal welfare supporters will rally in Tasmania calling for a ban on live exports after shocking footage was released of sheep suffering and dying on a ship.
Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie, who will speak at the rally in Hobart on Saturday morning, wants the federal government to “listen to the community” and shut the trade down.
It comes after whisteblower footage was aired this week showing thousands of sheep dying in sweltering conditions on a ship from Western Australia to the Middle East in August.
Mr Wilkie said authorities have known about the “systemic cruelty” in the live animal export industry for years.
“The worst offenders are these sheep ships travelling to the Middle East, on which animal fatalities are often way beyond government standards,” he said in a statement.
“I’m pleased to join Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty and ordinary Tasmanians to call for an end to this cruel trade.”
The shocking footage was filmed covertly by a trainee navigator and released to 60 Minutes and Animals Australia, showing sheep crammed into pens and panting from heat stress.
It sparked calls from vets and some politicians for urgent action on Australian live export ships destined for the Middle East.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud launched a veterinarian-led review into the northern summer trade in response.
More than 50,000 people have signed independent senator Derryn Hinch’s online petition to ban live exports.
The government has stared down calls for a ban, pledging to clean up the trade rather than abolish it.
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