Open letter to all West Australians from RSPCA WA President, Lynne Bradshaw AM
To the Western Australian Community,
This is the first time that I, as President of RSPCA Western Australia, have written an open letter to you.
But the issue I’m writing to you about is unprecedented in our state.
We know – from the thousands of emails you’ve sent, and the phone calls you’ve made - that you are outraged by the latest evidence of animal cruelty in live exports, exposed nationally in the news media over the past two weeks.
We know you are especially hurting because we’ve now confirmed this cruelty is being exported from our own backyard.
Most of these sheep came from Western Australia.
If you haven’t been able to watch it –and many can’t – the evidence shows injured and sick sheep, buried in their own waste, unable to reach food and water, suffering and dying from overcrowding and heat stress, and surrounded by the dead and decomposing bodies of their flock mates.
In one day, an animal died every 2 minutes. That means 2 or 3 sheep died in the time it takes you to read this letter.
In the past five years alone, more than 61,000 sheep have died on live export voyages. That’s more than the entire human capacity of the new Perth Stadium.
It’s incredibly distressing, and understandably, you want answers.
The truth is, you’ve been deceived for many years by the live export industry – and so have Western Australian farmers.
Their claims of ‘world-leading animal welfare standards’ on these routine voyages, and our farmers’ faith in those claims, have been shattered beyond repair.
The real problem is the routine conditions, including cramming sheep into overcrowded pens at the industry standard stocking density of 3 sheep per square metre.
The problem is an industry and business model that says they won’t make enough money unless animals are subjected to this suffering.
Meanwhile, we have solid facts to show the economic impact of ending the live trade is manageable, and we’re actively arguing for government support packages to help farmers adjust their businesses away from live exports.
But there’s much more to this issue than economics.
Now, more than ever, local farmers will need your support and encouragement to make a moral decision to stop sending their sheep for live exports.
Western Australian farmers have been propping up live export company profits for too long, and it’s costing them their reputation as well as the welfare of their carefully-raised animals.
Please, if you haven’t already, join us at liveexport.rspca.org.au/take-action as we call to stop the suffering and end the long-haul live export of sheep from Western Australia.
Lynne Bradshaw AM
President, RSPCA Western Australia