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Yesterday, a small group of animal advocates opposed to live exports stood shoulder to shoulder with a larger group of people who have always been well at odds with us.

Stop Live Exports called for members and supporters to join us in presenting a message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Community Cabinet and Public Forum at Thornlie Senior High School, in the form of a well-signed and placarded group in front of the school gates.

There were less than 50 of us and although hard to accurately count, probably over 100 live export supporters.

There was one area for us to gather, and no way that the police were going to expend the energy and effort to separate us, so we mixed… we mingled… we stood in front of each other and competed to get our signs in front, but ultimately, we talked… and we listened.

There was some goading, there were some heated discussions, but for the most part, there was open and honest dialogue, the dispelling of some misconceptions, the exchange of business cards and even the exchange of a few jokes.

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Pro-LE meet Stop LE at Thornlie. Photo:

I hope that some of the producers that I and some Stop Live Export members and supporters talked with felt heard and appreciated. We are not and have never been trying to ruin our primary producers – our farmers, pastoralists, graziers, growers… call them what you will – if they don’t exist, we don’t exist – I appreciate that they grow all the food I nourish my body with.

It became more evident to me yesterday than it has ever been, that they are just people trying to make a living doing what they love to do. I spent much of my childhood on my Uncle Ron’s sheep and wheat farm in Grenfell NSW – he was a crusty old bugger, but he had a heart of gold and I hate to think of him being in the situation now that many WA sheep farmers find themselves and wonder, were he still alive and living in WA instead of NSW, what would he do?

We are and always will be, passionately and vehemently opposed to exporting live animals, but there is and always will be in our lifetime, a demand for animal products; what we want to see is, the animals that are raised and slaughtered to provide those products treated as humanely as is humanly possible, and that does not include putting them on ships for three… four… five weeks to countries where we realistically have no control over their handling or slaughter.

Myself and Vanessa Williams, a long-time SLE member and live export opponent were registered for the public forum and Vanessa was able to ask her question of the Prime Minister. View the question and PM Julia Gillard's answer here.

We were very disappointed that the only mention of any animal welfare issues by the PM, were the ones exposed in Animals Australia & Four Corners’s exposé of the treatment of Australian cattle in several randomly selected Indonesian abattoirs. There was no mention of the nine serious animal welfare issues and/or ESCAS/ASEL breaches in Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, Pakistan or the plight of pregnant cows sent for slaughter in Mauritius.

I would urge everyone who feels strongly about the live export of animals, no matter which angle you are coming from, to stick to your guns, research the facts, speak only truth and listen also to the other side – we have a lot more in common than you may think. There has been initial contact between live export supporters and live export opponents, and several suggestions of coming together, joining forces and trying to address the concerns of both “sides” and lobby the government as one – create the best possible outcome for the animals and those who produce them.

We can’t eliminate cruelty, but I’m sure we can minimise it if we fight for what’s right and what’s required, rather than fighting each other.

Katrina Love
Coordinator, Stop Live Exports

Posted by on in Latest Info

Another example of the wonderful work undertaken by Stop Live Exports supporters!  An unplanned, spontaneous call for a flash protest in Victoria Quay, Fremantle to coincide with the loading of sheep and cattle onto the Bader III, resulted in a turnout of 30 protesters and a small boat!

The community of Fremantle will continue to draw attention to the fact that 80% of Australia's sheep exports leave its port every year and will persist in protesting about the inherent cruelty in the live export trade.  Fremantle residents see, and smell, first hand the suffering and misery of this cruel and indefensible trade and want to see it phased out as quickly as possible and replaced with a chilled and frozen meat trade.   

Freo_Protest_18DecSmall boat Freo Protest

Human Chain Across the Stirling Bridge, Fremantle

Stop Live Exports, in conjunction with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), organised a Human Chain across the Stirling Bridge in Fremantle on Sunday 13th November.

We estimate that about 350 wonderful supporters turned up, enough to almost straddle the bridge. Everyone wore black and an A4 sign around their necks that stated: “I am a ………… opposed to live exports”.  The blank space was filled in as appropriate for each individual e.g. I am a teacher/vet/student/meat-eater/mother etc.  The best sign was that of a young man that said "I am a student who should be studying for my WACE exams opposed to live exports". We admire his commitment to our cause and we certainly hope that he does well in his exams!

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The line of people stood in silence and linked hands to show their opposition to the live trade. The event drew a lot of media attention - see the PerthNow footage here.  Many people going by in vehicles on the bridge also hooted to show their support and even the river police sounded their siren and gave the thumbs up!  It was a brilliant way to demonstrate that people from all walks of life want to see a cessation to the live export trade. 

WSPA will use footage and photos from the event in their Humane Chain campaign that is drumming up support for the phasing out of live exports in the run up to the national Labor Conference which is being held on 2nd and 3rd December. 

Well done to everyone that turned up and made it such a special event.

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