In 2008/09, live sheep exports returned $351 million to the Australian economy. Sheep meat exports returned $1.5 billion.
The AMIEU estimates around 40,000 jobs have been lost in the meat-processing sector since the live export trade began.
Rural Australia continues to struggle to keep abattoirs open, while live animals are trucked past empty processing plants and loaded onto ships to be processed overseas.
In 2009 ACIL Tasman completed two economic reports into this trade and found:
1. Sheep processed in Australia are worth 20% more to the economy than sheep sent overseas for slaughter
2. Australia is missing out on value-add opportunities by sending sheep overseas
3. Phasing out live sheep exports would create jobs in Australia and be better for farmers in the long term
Sending live sheep on long journeys overseas just to be slaughtered when they get there is cruel and unnecessary. Sheep slaughtered overseas are not stunned first so they are fully conscious when their throats are cut.
Halal-certified abattoirs in Australia allow pre-slaughter stunning and this meat is just as religiously acceptable as meat from an animal slaughtered overseas. All countries that take Australian animals also take Australian chilled and frozen meat.
Greater investment in our meat processors will help farmers reduce the risks associated with the live sheep trade, create jobs in Australia, boost our economy and significantly improve animal welfare.
SUPPORT THE REAL UNDERDOGS THIS ELECTION
Political Animal highlights four urgent animal welfare issues that the RSPCA would like to see the next Federal Parliament deal with: live exports, puppy factories, food labelling and humane slaughter. To support the real underdogs this election register at http://www.politicalanimal.org.au/
 To view the ACIL Tasman report, please visit: http://www.rspca.org.au/how-you-can-help/campaigns/live-exports/acil-tasman-report.html