More than 1000 people have rallied in Sydney as part of a national campaign against live animal exports.
The rally in the Central Business District was one of five organised throughout the country with thousands of protesters taking to the streets of Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.
Protesters gathered in Town Hall Square to express their anger and call for a ban on live exports which animal welfare advocates consider an extreme form of cruelty.
Mark Pearson, NSW MLC for the Animal Justice Party and the first to be elected to parliament on an animal protection platform, condemned the Federal Government for the “inherently horrendous” trade.
“Animals fall exhausted, unable to breathe, riddled with heat stress and inability to eat properly,” Mr Pearson said.
“They are doomed to peril ...the Australian legislation, the Australian cruelty laws have absolutely no jurisdiction. It is unconscionable that a farmer, for a government to tick off and allow this trade to exist.”
The campaign was born earlier this year after Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners revealed the deaths of sheep being exported to Indonesia.
In 2017, more than 4000 sheep perished during routine shipments to Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman from Australian shores.
The trade has provoked controversy as the National Farmers’ Federation and the Federal Government of Agriculture and Water Resources argue against a ban based on a failure for protesters to account for the requirements of the market.
Organiser and Humane Society representative Georgie Dolphin criticised the National Farmers Federation which has lobbied against a ban.
“Those who continue to support the live trade argue that the farmers who rely on it will suffer but there are economic advantages for rural communities processing meat at home, and no farmer relies solely on the live trade.”
New Zealand banned live animal exportation in 2003 after 4000 sheep died in transit to Saudi Arabia.
Agricultural Minister David Littleproud last month announced harsher penalties for exporters who did not adhere to animal welfare regulations.
“This parliament is now facing a new era, where it has to turn its mind to those who cannot speak for themselves or advocate for themselves, for those who are the most exploited in society,” Mr Pearson said.