Live Export

Last updated 24 July 2020

live exportAustralian live cattle exports. Source: Meat and Livestock Australia.     Cattle aboard a live export ship. Source: ABC

In addition to the above death toll, the grisly Live Export trade is responsible for millions of cows being crammed onto ships for long journeys, often without sufficient food or water, often in filthy conditions. Many die in transit. As the graph above shows, over one million Australian cattle are exported overseas annually. Currently, 55% of exported cows are sent to Indonesia (with Vietnam, Israel, Malaysia and Japan being the other main recipients)21.


A still from 4 corners ‘A bloody Business’ Program aired in 2011. Source: ABC

In 2011, ABC’s Four Corners aired ‘A Bloody Business’ which exposed the cruel treatment of Australian animals in foreign countries after being exported live overseas. Animals often suffered slow, painful deaths without any stunning.

While the ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) is supposed to offer some minimal welfare standards (along with control and traceability through the supply chain, plus auditing) it’s been proven ineffective time and again. The system simply has no real jurisdiction as soon as the cattle reach foreign soil. MLA has already proven they have no genuine interest in the welfare of cattle being exported overseas; in 2015, MLA found cattle being killed outside the approved ESCAS abattoirs in Vietnam but didn’t record the tag numbers so these instances couldn’t be traced back to the exporters22.