Sheep and lambs express their emotions visibly, showing signs of depression similar to humans, by hanging their heads. Similarly, their joy and love of life can be seen when we choose to look. Sheep are social beings, who express fear when separated from their social groups or are approached by strangers.
Each year in Australia, approximately 5-7 million sheep, and 17-19 million lambs, are slaughtered for their flesh.
Sheep are clever, social beings, who have been found to respond to their own names, solve mazes, and are capable of performing tricks like some companion animals. Studies have shown that sheep recognise faces and can read both human and other sheep expression and mood. They even develop close bonds with others, and express joy when they are around and sadness when they are not. Both lambs and sheep love to play, shown by leaping and head-butting.
Farming sheep denies them of their inherent right to a life of freedom and joy. Their final moments are spent filled with the scent of blood and the sound of the screams of their loved ones.
During live transportation (link to Live Export issue page), sheep may fall ill, become dehydrated or starve to death. Others are trampled as they are unable to lift their bodies from the faeces ridden floor. These horrid conditions, coupled with overwhelming heat stress, facilitate disease outbreaks, such as conjunctivitis and salmonellosis.
Hidden camera footage obtained by Animal Liberation from inside a large, award-winning Tasmanian slaughterhouse (Tasmanian Quality Meats in Cressy) reveals over one hundred instances of workers beating, kicking and throwing sheep and lambs, ineffective use of the electric stunner, and at least one instance of killing without prior stunning.
The footage was sent to the authority responsible for investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty in Tasmania, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), in late 2016. As of July 2017, Animal Liberation has seen no indication that any action will be taken by the department, suggesting that instances like these, recorded over a period of just a few random days, are commonplace in Australian slaughterhouses.
Although Animal Liberation would like to see an end for farming sheep and lamb meat in the long term, in the short term there is a need for a ban against winter farming.