Farmers fed up with Government fleecing: ‘Keep the Sheep’ campaign launched

30 May 2024

WA truckdriver Ben Sutherland is calling on WA Federal Labor MPs to support the local sheep industry and farmers. Pic: Supplied

An article by  Alex McLaughlin

The ‘Keep the Sheep’ campaign launched in Western Australia on Wednesday to support those affected by the WA sheep live-export phase out.

The launch came a day before the Albanese Government introduced legislation to Parliament to formalise the end date for the export, and ahead of a grassroots rally that will march through the streets of Perth on Friday to officially inaugurate the #KeepTheSheep campaign.

As part of the campaign, farmers and supporters across WA have declared they will seek to “destabilise” the government in critical seats ahead of the next federal election over its moves to introduce a ban on live export of sheep.

Livestock & Rural Transport Association of WA Vice President and 5K Livestock owner Ben Sutherland asserts that the ban will devastate his local town of Ravensthorpe.

“It’s a disgrace that WA Labor Federal MPs aren’t standing up for their state,” Mr Sutherland said.

"We want to show them how much support there is for our farmers by putting their jobs under threat at the next election.

“We will be targeting WA marginal seats like Tangney, Swan and Hasluck to build on the support we have in the community to save our farmers and our towns.”

He said Australia’s live export industry was worth $1.3 billion and provided thousands of jobs across WA.

“The live sheep trade is so important to us. It underpins our farming systems and creates thousands of jobs from the paddock to the time the animal departs Australia,” he said.

“Keeping the sheep, means keeping livelihoods. It means keeping our towns alive. We’re calling on the support of our fellow West Australians to help us keep the sheep!” Mr Sutherland said.

The Albanese Government has introduced legislation to Parliament to formalise the end date for the export of live sheep by sea from Australia. Pic: Supplied.

The campaign aims to inform government that the repercussions will extend well beyond producers and has garnered support from Australian agricultural bodies, with the impacts of the policy warned to affect the wider Australian community.

Meanwhile, the NFF urged parliamentarians to inform themselves and contemplate the serious precedent being set by the Government’s legislation to ban live sheep exports, tabled today. 

NFF President David Jochinke warned that unless MPs and Senators do their homework, they are likely to fall victim to a misinformation campaign by animal activists. 

“Activists want you to think this industry hasn’t changed. They want you to think that the ghastly scenes seared in our memories from many years back are still true today. That is completely false,” Mr Jochinke said.

If you look at the industry today, its animal welfare outcomes are gold standard. You ban that, and you put wind in the sails of groups who are openly campaigning for an end to livestock farming. 

“Unless you and the people you represent agree with an end to livestock production in Australia, listen to the farmers – not the fanatics.”


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