Australian politician moves to ban live sheep exports

Australian backbencher Sussan Ley has introduced legislation to the Australian parliament to ban the export of live sheep. Her move came after the death of 2,400 animals on a ship bound for the Middle East.

The ruling coalition government last week introduced tougher oversight of the shipments, but stopped short of banning them altogether.

The bulk of Australia’s meat exports are processed, but markets such as the Middle East and Indonesia prefer to buy live animals. Australia’s chief commodity forecaster in March said it expected 1.9m live sheep to be sold this year, worth A$250m.

Nearly three quarters of voters support an end to live exports, and two members of prime minister Turnbull’s Liberal Party have said that they support Ley’s bill, joining forces with the opposition Labour Party.

The Nationals, the junior member of the coalition government, oppose a ban, claiming that it could inflict widespread damage on Australia’s agricultural sector.