Australia is a proud agricultural exporting nation, with a long history of providing food and fibre to the world. Today more than half the meat we produce is exported overseas, and consumers across the world have confidence in it, knowing it’s safe, free of disease and high in quality.In the past 30 years exporting livestock overseas has become increasingly important as a way for Australian meat to get to overseas consumers. Today the export of livestock has grown into a sustainable Australian industry that makes up a significant proportion of Australia’s agricultural exports and makes a major contribution to the economy and social fabric of the nation.Thousands of farming families and their communities are heavily reliant on the livestock export industry for their livelihoods. The industry employs 13,000 people across Australia, with 11,000 of those people living in rural and regional areas. This figure is not just made up of livestock producers and livestock exporters; it’s also made of veterinarians, stock agents, truck drivers, and many more people that are employed by the trade.The Australian live export trade contributes $1.8 billion in Gross Domestic Product nationally, and underpins the entire economies of some regional areas.The live export industry is also important because it ensures that Australian livestock producers have a range of markets to sell their animals to, making sure they get a good price for the animals they work hard to produce. The industry is also crucial in providing a market for those in remote areas without access to abattoirs. This is particularly important for cattle producers in the northern regions of Australia.It is for this reason that any restriction of Australia’s involvement in international livestock exports would have a devastating effect on the thousands of people the industry employs.The livestock exported from Australia also play a key role in ensuring the food security of the countries we export to across the Middle East and Asia. Australia exports sheep and cattle to the Middle East, and cattle and goats to countries across South East Asia.By exporting animals overseas, Australian livestock exporters and producers fulfill a major need for essential red meat in the countries we export to, as they supply livestock exports to nations that can’t produce enough livestock to meet the demand of their populations.Australia also exports livestock to nations that lack the infrastructure and money to solely import frozen and chilled meat products. Often, Australian meat is a premium higher value product in those markets, selling through Western-style supermarkets and in the food service sector. Whereas meat from live exported Australian animals is affordable to more of the population, helping to satisfy their dietary needs.In some cases, the need for live animals is also cultural, with traditional or religious practices requiring live animals as part of important feasts.To find out more about the importance of the livestock export industry to both Australia and to the world, you can watch this industry information video.