Research Report

Live exports and the Australian community: A national survey


Some sectors of the community believe the livestock export industry has poor animal welfare practices, and are very vocal in their opposition to the trade. This can put pressure on decision-making by politicians and regulators.

The industry has contracted an independent third party to conduct research, based on a solid scientific approach, to survey the community and understand its views on various facets of the industry.

This report outlines the findings of the first in a series of annual surveys to determine the key issues in community attitudes towards animal welfare in the Australian livestock export industry.

The results show that, while many people are concerned about animal welfare, many also recognise the contribution of the industry to farmers and regional Australia, and to food security overseas.


This project aims to use Voconiq’s social insights framework to survey around 5,000 Australians each year, to assess community sentiment toward the livestock export industry.

Key findings
  • 72% of participants agreed that the livestock export industry makes an important economic contribution to Australia.

  • 61% agreed that livestock exports help overseas countries ensure their citizens have access to safe sources of meat.

  • 61% agree that the federal government is able to hold industry accountable for its performance.

  • 57% are really bothered by the way animals are transported to overseas markets.

  • 67% of participants felt that animals were treated better in domestic meat production than in overseas markets.

  • On the question "Australia should stop the export of live animals to overseas markets regardless of the impacts on Australian farmers”, 37% of community members indicated some level of disagreement, with 35% indicating some level of agreement.

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, participants identified moderate trust (2.91) in the live export industry.

  • A significant number of people had a neutral response (3 on a scale of 1 to 5) to questions, suggesting either no strong feelings or a lack of knowledge on which to base their answer.

Benefits to industry

This project will ensure politicians, livestock exporters and others have a factual basis for understanding what the community thinks about livestock exports, based on a representative survey of Australians.

It also highlights the key issues of concern, providing guidance for industry management practices, research efforts and communication strategies.

Sign up for future surveys

People interested in participating in future years may pre-register to be contacted by Voconiq when the next Australian live export industry survey is released.

Live exports and the Australian community: A national survey
Research Organisation