The latest heartbreaking expose of Australia's live export industry shows the horrifying conditions endured by nearly 64,000 sheep sent from Fremantle, Australia to the Middle East last August. Approximately 2,400 of those sheep died from heat stress.

Australian Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the footage, provided by Animals Australia, left him “shocked and gutted”. But the deaths of so many on board live export ships are not unusual. 

Every year, Australia exports millions of live animals to countries in the Middle East, a gruelling trip across the Indian Ocean, sometimes in searing heat, that may take weeks. More than 200 million animals have been crammed onto filthy cargo ships over the last 30 years, and more than 2.5 million of them have been trampled to death or died from dehydration, starvation or disease.

The suffering does not end for those who survive. There are virtually no laws in place in the Middle East to protect these animals, and they often are subjected to abuse and methods of slaughter that would be illegal in this country. Investigators have seen animals being roughly dragged from ships, sometimes by their legs. Many are thrown into trucks and cars, and most of them have their throats cut with blunt or inappropriate knives—while they are still conscious.

Not only is live export bad for animals, it's also bad for the environment. The live-export trade is one of the top 40 CO2 emitters in Australia. Cattle and sheep may be transported thousands of kilometers by truck, while the empty ships journeying back to Australia to collect their next load account for further emissions.

By refusing to end live export ships during the hottest months of the year, the government is facilitating the suffering and deaths of sensitive, gentle animals. Make sure Australian Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud knows it by sending him a letter via the form below.

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