The live animal export controversy in Australia: A moral crusade made for the mass media

Lyle Patrick Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses a recent media campaign by Animals Australia and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in association with the Australian Broadcasting Commission which exposed the cruelties of the live animal export trade in Australia. The television story A Bloody Business aired by the country s leading investigative programme Four Corners caused an immediate and unprecedented expression of anger by thousands of viewers who were horrified by the spectacle of Australian cattle being abused in a number of Indonesian abattoirs. The focus of the article is on the activists campaign to ban the trade and in so doing both confirms and challenges a number of social movement theories and concepts. As a classic hot cognition issue, the moral crusade seemed destined to succeed such was the publicity the programme generated. However, an increasingly nervous and vulnerable government lifted its temporary ban on the trade only a month after the controversy began. The paper suggests why this initially promising media campaign failed to pressure the government to permanently ban the trade and how the activists might utilise ideas from the social movement literature to their advantage in their continuing campaign. (c) 2014, (c) 2014 Taylor Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214 - 229
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Movement Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • animal cruelty
  • impact of television images on public and political action
  • live animal export trade
  • Media-movement transactions
  • social movement framing

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