Sheep and wool are ‘sacrificial lambs’ on live export – Moses

Moses and Son managing director Martin Moses, May 16, 2024

Moses and Co managing director Martin Moses.


The government’s plan to ban live exports by sea by 2028 is poised to unleash a ripple effect that could devastate numerous regional communities. This move threatens to dismantle generations of hard work for some families and is poised to compound the challenges faced by the already struggling economy.

This decision proves that the government is completely out of touch with its regional constituents and has abandoned us – again. They are using us as a sacrificial lamb to meet their carbon emission targets.

This isn’t about farmers playing the victim; it’s about farmers saying “enough.” We have been disregarded for too long, and it isn’t just our industry. It is every Australian farmer who has ever poured their heart and soul into what they love, often with meagre returns. We frequently find ourselves having to push back against decisions and opinions from powerful figures who lack real insight.

By bowing down to activists and inner-city voters who are completely out of touch with the highly regulated and science-backed industry, we are destroying the very backbone of our country.

Without a government that collaborates with the agricultural sector, Australia may see a mass exodus of producers. Many farmers will walk off the land. What then?

While Agriculture Minister Murray Watt says the government’s $107 million transition package will provide adequate assistance, we say this is setting a dangerous precedent for all farming – not just for the sheep industry.

Industry leaders this week walked out of the Croplife Ag Industry breakfast, signalling widespread disapproval of the decision. So why is the government pushing to cripple an industry? It isn’t just sheep farmers who will bear the brunt. It is truck drivers, shearers and other workers of the supply chain who will be affected. Where is their compensation?

The government is setting the values of our industry to achieve without any consultation. We are being used as pawns. What do we need to do to be heard? Pull up our tractors to Parliament House like our European counterparts?

Predictions are we will see dangerous drops in sheep numbers and wool production. So why would we want to be part of an industry that is intentionally being wound down? We can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, and the resilience that we are known for is waning. Farming may become too difficult.

It is time the government wake up and realises how much this country relies on farmers for the food on their tables, the clothes on their backs, and the significant contribution we make to the country’s economy.

Rather than criticising and destroying a sector they clearly know nothing about, I personally invite any politician to come to our region and meet with our sheep producers and other farmers to witness our welfare practices and to see how much actual science is behind our enterprises.

Without farmers, Australia will fall, and we will fall hard.

And it will not be without warning.

Australian farmers have had enough.


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  1. Debra Stewart, May 20, 2024

    The government is doing its best to turn Australia into a third world country. How are they going to pay for all the unemployment and mental health issues these actions will cause? It is far reaching; we’ll be importing inferior food products.

  2. Rick Hayward, May 20, 2024

    The Australian government is wrecking all our farmers in every farming industries and forcing our farmers off the land. It’s a total disgrace what is happening to our farmers that supply the food we eat. Australian people need to wake up and support our farmers.

  3. Bob Roberts, May 20, 2024

    What happened to the Australia that used to ride on the sheep’s back?
    Politicians didn’t learn that that at university. They don’t live in the real world.

  4. Steve Simpkin, May 20, 2024

    I’m fully sympathetic with you Australian sheep farmers. Being a New Zealand sheep farmer myself, we had to endure our live export of sheep back in the late 80s.
    The solution we need on both sides of the ditch is higher prices for our products. By this, I genuinely mean a lift of at least 75 percent.
    Can this happen? If we were getting $150 for store lambs on farm and $200-plus for fat lambs, not to mention $10-plus a kilo for crossbred wool, then not having a live export would be tolerable.

  5. Will Goode, May 20, 2024

    It’s the cruelty of dying at sea, in those hot over-crowded ships. No-one likes mutton anyway, and who still uses wool? Last I heard it was loft insulation. Then there’s mulesing and shorn deaths from cold, and the damage they do to forests and land. Maybe the days of “sheep” are over and we all become vegetarians or certainly eat less.

  6. Katrina Love, May 19, 2024

    Australian agriculture: $90 billion annually.
    Live sheep exports: 6 million
    Live sheep exported in 2022 <500k.
    How is it that a reduction in exports of over 90 percent hasn’t ruined the WA sheep industry, but ending the export of that last 500k over four years will be the ruination of not only the entire sheep industry in WA but apparently, all Australian farmers? Get a grip.

  7. Paul Fisk, May 19, 2024

    You brought it on yourselves. Should have treated the animals better. You aren’t animal lovers. They are a means to an end. Process the meat humanely here, and with more oversight than there is now. Make it cheaper here and you will sell it here. No live animals should be sent to these countries.

    • Simon Thomas, May 21, 2024

      Australian farmers no matter whether they are broad acre, livestock, fruit and vegetables or even produce that bottle of wine you may have had last night are not price setters. We don’t have the luxury of setting any prices; that is all done at the retail outlets. We don’t get to pass on increasing costs to the consumers. Maybe it’s time you let go of your own traditions of kicking farmers and lift your eyes to demand more from the supermarket chains who control what you pay.

    • glenn Nix, May 20, 2024

      There have been people actually giving away sheep. I’m not certain how much cheaper than free is possible. The expensive part of meat is the not the live animal cost, it’s the processing, distribution and transport.

    • Rina Tampalini, May 19, 2024

      So, you are happy to go and work on a farm for a pittance, because farmers expenses are sky rocketing? Only the supermarkets dictate how much they will pay for goods. If they are not happy they are told, “take it or leave it”. I’d like to see you run a farm then see if your attitude changes.

  8. Derek Newton, May 19, 2024

    We have allowed this to happen on our watch, by not educating the populations as they lost connection to farming, and so we elect ignorant, impractical people who have never run or managed a business to govern us. Not clever.

    • Katrina Love, May 19, 2024

      Quite conversely, it’s the educated and those who follow the science and statistics who all agree this trade can’t be humane and can’t (or won’t) be regulated.
      Those who reckon it should continue haven’t read the thousands of pages of reports and submissions and studies – they’re coming from a place of emotion and tradition and fear.

      • Dirk Stevens, May 19, 2024

        Oh please Katrina, just for one minute consider that maybe you might have the cow by the tail on this issue. You obviously need some education in how the farming industry works. I would like to personally invite you to come farming with us for a couple of weeks. I am sure you will leave with a different mindset.

        • Katrina Love, May 20, 2024

          I grew up helping out on my uncle’s sheep farm in Grenfell NSW in the 60s and 70s. I own sheep. I live rurally.

          This has little to do with the “farming industry” and a lot to do with foreign exporters profiting from exporting live sheep. Do you know that the profit margin for Bassem Dabbah (Bahijah owners and Israeli importers/exporters) is around 500 percent on those sheep?

          Still haven’t read the reports, have you? You’re not bothered with the science… just emotion and tradition – just stick your head in the sand and continue making this an “us v them” argument even though over 70pc of rural respondents — even in WA — also support an end to live sheep exports.

  9. Kaylene Fitch, May 19, 2024

    Yes it I support what you are saying whole heartily. The government is slowly killing our farmers with the supporting of animal activists who have no idea on living in the real world.
    It just sickens me to see government giving in to these organisations and then wanting our votes at election time?

  10. Carmel Arena, May 19, 2024

    This story is a load of scaremongering rubbish.
    1) Farming is one of the easiest job to transition from sheep to beef or cropping.
    2) As for the transportation industry; it is also easy in transportation to carrying other goods.
    3) Wool production will not be affected by this.
    All l see in this story is greed with no consideration for the animals that suffer the worst cruelty and conditions. Stories like this make me more determined to fight for an end to all animal exports. And not to mention the benefits of processing here in Australia. And by the way I am a farmer in northern Victoria.

  11. William Hearn, May 19, 2024

    Why do other countries want to import live sheep rather than processed meat?

  12. Geoff Greenham, May 19, 2024

    Can’t come soon enough.

  13. Bill Whiteley, May 18, 2024

    As my address indicates a long-term commitment to livestock and I am old enough to remember the support the real Labor party gave to the rural industry’s soldier settler schemes etc . Minister Watt states rural areas now do not support Labor when asked how the policy to ban the live sheep trade became Labor policy. His reply was the policy existed prior to his involvement in parliament. It is obvious he has not researched or supported, in his ministerial duties, the sector he purports to oversee. He is destroying the principal of democracy by accepting the demands of a small disassociated group in destroying an industry and the livelihoods of a productive and valuable section of society. A democracy must look after minorities; however, Minister Watt it must not use a minority group’s ulterior motives to politically destroy a legitimate industry for political gratification.

    • Katrina Love, May 19, 2024

      “He is destroying the principal of democracy by accepting the demands of a small disassociated group in destroying an industry and the livelihoods of a productive and valuable section of society.”

      Actually, Bill, he is accepting the demands of the majority of Australians as evidenced by numerous polls on the topic since 2011, which all show majority support for ending the live sheep trade, and to a lesser extent, the export of all live animals from Australia.

      And the policy that Labor went to two elections with that Watt must oversee the implementation of, relates to ending the export of 500k live sheep from WA. If a reduction from over 6 million exported in 2001 to under 500k in 2022 hasn’t decimated the sheep industry, this last 500k won’t either.

      Like many other Australians who have had to face job changes, adapt or die. Why should the majority accept a proven cruel industry so a tiny minority and foreign exporters can profit?

      • Glenn Nix, May 20, 2024

        I’ve never been polled and no one I know has been polled. Is it majority rule or rule of the ignorant mob? So is the majority for cattle exports then? The principle of banning things because some people don’t like them is very thin edge of wedge stuff and picking on minorities is bully boy stuff. What’s your industry, let’s ban that. You passed around a study saying getting rid of live export would only cost $4 a head and the meatworks could handle every thing. Clearly they can’t and the loss per head has been $90. You could get a rent a crowd to try to ban or protest many things. Someone is against everything.

        • Katrina Love, May 21, 2024

          Find me a poll that polls all 26 million residents. Oh, do you mean we haven’t had a referendum on shutting down a trade worth 0.1 percent of Australia’s agriculture industry… 500k sheep in a state with 12 million in a country with 70 million.

          Majority rules. I doubt your mob will ever rule. Labor won 77 seats; Liberals 27; LNPQ 21; Nationals 10 – that’s democracy.

          My industry doesn’t cause animal suffering and tarnish Australia’s reputation.

          You’ll need to be more specific re: the study I “passed around” – I possess and have read dozens.

  14. Stuart Andrew Lang, May 18, 2024

    Every time this Labor government gets into power it makes a complete mess. Just like Joe Ludwig did last time with the live cattle exports. This all flows through to our bank accounts. Things are bad enough now with prices; wool is not real good, cattle prices are low and the same with sheep. If this gets through there will be a complete collapse in livestock prices.

  15. Katherine Ingwersen, May 18, 2024

    I have lived in a rural community all my life and the opinions aired in this article do not reflect the views of the majority of people here.
    This trade has an appalling history and there can be no guarantees that past and present suffering will be eliminated.

  16. Ann Noakes, May 18, 2024

    Absolutely correct. The flow-on effect of this has mass implications for the thousands of associated businesses and will see the demise of country towns. Watt is so out of touch and this government is selling out farming families to win inner city votes. This government forgets that Australia was built on the sheep’s back. No farmers no food.

  17. Dick Moody, May 18, 2024

    Hi Marty, weii said and I could not agree more. We have seen this before. They do not care and are only looking after their votes. Good on you Marty.

  18. Leanne D Currans, May 18, 2024

    This needs to go to the no policy makers and the out of touch latte/cappuccino drinkers, who have never even seen sheep and never leave the city or their air-conditioned work areas.
    They need to MYOB.

  19. Kerry Milne, May 18, 2024

    The Labor Party is driving the green agenda with their green and woke alliances. Unfortunately, this impact compounds with the predicted reality of past practices of Australia exporting Merino bloodlines to China. Once the sheep export industry has been obliterated by this rotten Labor government, we’ll have to then import meat and wool produced from those Merino bloodlines back to Australia. The farming industry must unite as a force with the LNP to overturn Labor’s live export ban.

  20. Allan Cox, May 18, 2024

    Will the live export of cattle be next in line?

    • Katrina Love, May 21, 2024

      Certainly hope so.

    • Julie Henson, May 20, 2024

      I damn well hope so. And it can’t come quickly enough. Arable farmers have my 1000 percent support. The rest of them can get on a transport ship to the Middle East or Asia and stay there.
      Labor are honouring a promise – finally.

  21. Peter Lindley, May 18, 2024

    I ask the question, why is our government bowing down, not only to the extremists, but to these globalists and the elite of the world who are pushing this green agenda to get rid of farming? As others have already said, who is going to feed the population? The globalists want everyone off the land and pushed into their little 15-minute cities so we can all do as they say and as they want. Control the food, control the people.
    I just wish people would wake up and see what is really going on in the world. It’s a war between the elites and the commoners and our government unfortunately.

  22. Chester Wilson, May 18, 2024

    This action taken by the whole Federal Labor government is appallingly grounded and without full reference to the affected people, which is all Australians, whether or not they live and work in the country areas and towns; whether or not they are farmers of one description or another.
    Minister Watts’ supposed family connections to farming, appear by this decision of his to be extremely ill-founded and tenuous. He and his cohort obviously do not understand our national requirement to build up our ability to feed, clothe, protect and enhance our burgeoning population and maintain our living standards. By cutting back on one area of primary production, in favour of the Greens party/animal right activists/inner city lefties/Labor party ‘do-gooders’ claims that hold little if any water, the Minister is causing much pain in the country and forcing people from the land perhaps into the ever-increasing cities. The latter is then forcing a huge financial input into building infrastructure within these cities which in turn, removes our populations awareness of primary production and country life as well as the values and benefits of such life. This ‘citification’ of our population, obviously gives the authorities and governments greater ease in controlling the countryside and the population. The latter is not at all wanted.
    Minister Watts’ supposed plan to replace the live sheep trade with some other structure, is only meant to please those who have made the most noise against this worthwhile export. His offered plan is a fabrication that only meets some points of need and fails to think of the Australia-wide situation. The results will speak for themselves, as others have noted, further down the line in rural towns, industries, schools, firms and those employed to work in these areas.
    Minister Watt would be extremely well-advised to undo the damage he has already promulgated by practically and and actually supporting our whole nation, by fully supporting the rural development of our primary producers and those who depend on them. He is not to support those radical people and groups, who seem to have the main idea of tearing down our great national primary production asset.

  23. Alma Corkhill, May 17, 2024

    Just another knock on the head for us on the Land. I have seen some shocking Labor Governments, but this one takes the cake.
    They have no idea how to run anything or manage anything. You only achieve that through hard work.
    Well said Marty.

  24. Adrian Carey, May 17, 2024

    Take all the farm meat and produce off the shelves for three weeks and tell the government why and those in the city why, and see and hear the cries. Then look at the result.

  25. David Butcher, May 17, 2024

    Well said Marty.

  26. David Neil-Smith, May 17, 2024

    Everything that Martin Moses has said is true, but the damage will be more far-reaching than what he’s saying. All the investment, R and D and manufacturing of equipment, shearing sheds, yards and other stock handling equipment will no longer have a market. Country towns will not be able to keep staff. Schools will be affected, as will every other business. This will reach into city-based suppliers too.
    The Labor government is so desperate to win seats, such as the stunt they pulled with the Animal Justice Party. They are appalling and the worst government in Australian history.
    The Governor-General must be called upon to dismiss the entire Labor government if they don’t reverse this unconstitutional ban. Albanese’s government only got about 30 percent of the vote. That is not a mandate to do anything.

  27. Rick Malaschenko, May 17, 2024

    Mate, sadly you are the one out of touch. The old ‘you’re letting down rural communities down’ is rubbish. If sheep farmers and growers haven’t seen the writing on the wall since the 90s, maybe it’s time get out of the industry and retire. Shearer numbers have gone from 30,000 in the 90s to 3500 shearers now, and farmers still can’t do the maths. Yeah, the farm has always ran 5000 sheep in good years and bad, you’ve got bills to pay, boarding school, another property down on the coast, drought proofing we call it. Then there’s the house in town for when we retire, only because you you were forced by the road authorities. The world’s a changing place and we no longer stick sheep on boats, unlike those who came on boats. I’m a wool classer and if any industry needs to wake up , it’s the sheep industry.

    • Tom Casey, May 20, 2024

      Typical guesser. 180 million divided by 30000 equals 6000 each. I was shearing 40000 a year in those days and cracked 50k one year with a stint in 🇺🇸

  28. glenn Nix, May 20, 2024

    That’s the trouble Lorraine, you fail to understand . We didn’t know the phaseout date because until recently it wasn’t known. I do sell to meat works but if 350,000 sheep went east during the three months with live export, you can see the local meat works cannot cope and will it be worse when live export stops. It’s all the same industry, all interrelated. The Merino ewe we can’t sell is the mother of the prime lamb we might be able to sell eventually after putting lots of feed through them for the whole summer three months after they were ready. The current government sent market signals and fewer boats have been coming as they seek out new suppliers. Many sheep that should have gone last year are clogging up the system this year. The government was told what a drought would do; that it would make things worse and so it has happened. They have been told we don’t have the processing capacity or available workers let alone housing in those towns for workers to move into. A rational person would have made sure processing was adequate before shutting down an industry to appease people on the other side of a continent. What happens when you can’t sell sheep Lorraine is you get overstocked. I would of thought that was a simple concept to grasp. You can’t sell sheep to people who don’t want them. Giving them away for free wasn’t easy so I am told.

  29. Dirk Stevens, May 19, 2024

    It ceases to amaze me how city slickers who obviously know nothing about farming have the balls to tell us what we should do. I am yet to see a farmer even consider for one second that they are qualified to tell city folk how to fix there social problems and there is a very long list. Clean up your own backyard and stay out of ours.

  30. Lorraine Fox, May 18, 2024

    Whilst I feel empathy for sheep producers going through the current drought and feed shortages, I disagree with the call to continue live export of sheep. Sheep producers have known since Labor came into power that the insidious trade will be phased out, eight years in total by 2028. Have producers made any contingency plans at all? By supporting a chilled meat trade, many industries and jobs can be created to replace those supposedly under threat. Support your local abattoirs, support your local workers, support your local people, get out of an industry that lacks compassion and empathy for animals. I also fail to understand how the current government is responsible for drought conditions and overstocking, as many farmers have claimed. Surely farming is also about understanding the land, climate conditions and carrying capacity?

  31. Dave Shorter, May 18, 2024

    First they came for the Murray Darling water, then they came for the wild-caught fishing and native forestry. There is no primary production they wouldn’t sell for a Greens preference. I think Marty Moses has a pretty good grip.

  32. Audie Blechynden, May 17, 2024

    Are you for real? Farmers have been shooting sheep this year because they have no market for them. Go read the current prices for sheep being sold at Katanning and Muchea. This is because the guys that ship sheep have stopped buying sheep from Australia because of the upcoming ban and lack of support from the government.

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