“Get our animals off those hell ships”: with live export set to be banned in England and Wales, Australia must follow suit, says Animal Justice Party MP Mark Pearson

Australia has known of the horrors of live export for too long, and the death of the industry is imminent, NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party, Mark Pearson, has warned.

“The conditions animals face on live export ships is nothing short of tortuous,” Mr Pearson said.

“The upcoming ban of live export in England and Wales is proof the industry has lost its social license, and it’s only a matter of time the Australian industry concedes defeat, too.”

Mr Pearson’s comments come after it was announced that sending live animals abroad for slaughter and fattening is set to be banned in England and Wales by the end of 2021.

“Australia urgently needs to do the same, before the northern summer, which is our winter. Just look what happened with Al Kuwait earlier this year,” Mr Pearson said.

In June the Australian Department of Agriculture backflipped on a previous decision and granted permission for a ship carrying 50,000 sheep to sail from Western Australia into the northern summer.

“Imagine being crammed with tens of thousands of others in filthy conditions, diseased and in pain, virtually cooking alive as temperatures soar above 45 degrees outside,” Mr Pearson said.

“As we learnt at the time, the Australian government considers those conditions, and a single vet overseeing 50,000 suffering animals, as adequate care. Well, I don’t accept that – and neither does the average Australian on the street.”

In the early 2000s, Mr Pearson ran campaigns in Portland (VIC) and Fremantle (WA), working with other activists to stop empty live export ships from entering ports to collect animals for the Middle East. In the same decade, he worked with wharf and meatworker unions to stop the proposed commencement of cattle live export through Newcastle (NSW).

This welfare standards of the industry has been in question and has had numerous Australian investigations going back to the 1970s and 1980s by the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare.

“Every Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare has concluded that the live export trade is untenable,” Mr Pearson said in Parliament in May, 2018.

“It can never reach and maintain welfare standards that are acceptable under Australian laws.”