The live animal export industry: a case study of the role played by an Australian blue-collar union in the animal welfare and rights movement

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Live animal export has developed into a trade on an international scale and one that has attracted criticisms and protests to protect animal welfare and rights by groups and organisations over several decades. This paper analyses a little-known role played by a blue-collar trade union and its campaign to ban live animal exports from Australia. Using social movement theory, the paper argues that the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (AMIEU) chose strategically to invite representatives of an animal welfare and rights organisation to speak at a 1980 blockade in order to buttress a traditional industrial campaign to achieve its objective. Yet after developing links with such groups and organisations, the union found itself increasingly alienated from these strategic alliances as time passed. This case study, although grounded in social movement literature, remains a labour history study of changing union strategy and adaptability to circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-691
Number of pages15
JournalLabor History
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • animal rights
  • animal welfare
  • industrial campaign
  • live animal export
  • networks
  • social movement theory
  • Trade union

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