Live Export: The Longest Journey
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from

October 2020

[Shared with permission from We Animals Media, please see original story and downloadable images here. Text by Anna Mackiewicz. Images by Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media]

We Animals Media’s Australian correspondent Anna Mackiewicz tracks live export from her homeland to the Middle East, and across borders worldwide.... Images of sheep being violently beaten, dragged, sawn at with blunt knives, and being thrown alive into mass graves, demonstrated the failings of the new regulations, and the inherent suffering of the live export industry.

exporting Sheep
Sheep being loaded onto trucks. Australia, 2013.

If you live outside of Australia, you may not have heard of live export. Though the live export industry – the transport of live animals, usually livestock, across borders – is alive and well across the globe, it remains hidden in the shadows amongst the tonnes of animal meat being sent for consumption around the world. But way down in the southern-most section of the map, live export has been in the news for decades, and for good reason. Being one of the planet’s most remote countries, and surrounded on all sides by ocean, live export from Australia necessarily involves the transport of animals by ship, on traumatic voyages that last many weeks through rough seas.

exporting Sheep

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of live animals, exporting 2.85 million animals in 2017 alone. It is the leading global exporter of live cattle, totaling 1.2 million in the 12 months prior to July 2019. The majority of cows exported for slaughter go to Indonesia and Vietnam, with the majority of dairy cows travelling to China. The 1.9 million sheep exported annually travel mostly to the Middle East – including to Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan – on a journey that typically lasts about 3 weeks.

These animals begin this long journey at Australian sale yards, where they wait in the blazing sun to be bought and sold. Once bought, those destined for export are taken on open-sided trucks to feedlots, and from there loaded onto the ships. The conditions on board live export ships are extreme, and little care is taken to ensure the wellbeing of the animals. The ships are typically severely over-crowded, as exporters seek to improve their profits by transporting ever-greater numbers.

Often there is not even space enough for the animals to lie down, or for all of them to access the food and water troughs. As they travel into the blistering heat of the Middle Eastern summer, temperatures soar to insufferable levels. Without proper sanitation, animals swim in their own feces and, if they collapse from exhaustion, they drown. Broken bones and other injuries are common; disease flourishes and, with limited veterinary care, the death toll rises.

At the other end of the long journey from Australia, We Animals Media’s Jo-Anne McArthur tracked the arrival of 22,000 sheep and cows on one ship named Bahijah, at Israel’s Haifa port. The smell was overwhelming. The animals, seasick and crowded together, stood in rivers of their own feces. Decomposing bodies were strewn amongst the living. En route, the dead who can be reached are thrown overboard, and bodies commonly wash up on Israel’s beaches. Those who survive the journey will be slaughtered on arrival, or be loaded onto trucks to begin another long journey to feedlots around the country....


Please read the entire article with more downloadable images.

Return to The Meat and Dairy Industries

Animal Slaughter Kill Counter:

Number of animals killed in the world by the fishing, meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.

0 marine animals
0 chickens
0 ducks
0 pigs
0 rabbits
0 turkeys
0 geese
0 sheep
0 goats
0 cows / calves
0 rodents
0 pigeons/other birds
0 buffaloes
0 dogs
0 cats
0 horses
0 donkeys and mules
0 camels / camelids