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Ban Live Exports Day: Push for Global Action

News Section Icon Published 6/7/2024

Sheep looking through bars on a truck while being transported
Credit: Animal Welfare Foundation

For this year’s Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day, on 14 June, we are calling on citizens and activists around the world to take a stand for animals by calling for action to ban live farmed animal exports. 

Every year, millions of live animals – including calves, sheep and pigs – are transported by road, rail, sea or air across continents on journeys lasting days and even weeks. More than four million are exported to other continents from the EU alone. During this time, they often endure horrific conditions such as overcrowding and extreme temperatures causing enormous pain and distress.

Momentum builds for export bans around the world

Just weeks ago, Great Britain introduced a ban on live exports for fattening and slaughter, and Australia has announced that live sheep exports by sea would be banned from 2028. New Zealand introduced a ban on live animal exports in April 2023, but this legislation is currently in jeopardy as a new coalition government has vowed to repeal the law. In Brazil, the federal court also ruled last year that no live animals should be exported from the country’s ports.

These governments have taken action in response to campaigns by concerned citizens and animal welfare campaigners around the world and momentum is building for action elsewhere.

Debbie Tripley, our Global Director of Campaigns and Policy Advocacy,  said:

“Across the world, the tide is turning. Governments are waking up to the unnecessary cruelty this barbaric industry inflicts on millions of sentient animals transported across the world each year like cargo.

“Great Britain has introduced a ban, and others, such as Australia, New Zealand and Brazil have taken steps to end it but much more action is needed to consign this trade to the history books globally.

“Our message is clear – we call on the European Commission and all governments around the world to end this vile and unnecessary trade and switch to carcass-only exports.”

Missed opportunity for EU legislation

The EU’s promised comprehensive review of animal welfare legislation offered hope for a ban on live exports, yet last year the Commission missed the opportunity to switch to a carcass-only trade, announcing just weak amendments to transport regulations.

This was despite a new report we released in partnership with Eurogroup for Animals showing that inadequate and misleading official records are masking the true horror and scale of the EU’s long-distance trade in farmed animals. It revealed disturbing details of the extent of the suffering endured by around 44 million farmed cattle, sheep and pigs each year within and from the EU, with journeys lasting up to three weeks as far as Brazil, Vietnam and Nigeria.

Dame Joanna Lumley, Patron of Compassion in World Farming, who supported the campaign to ban live exports from Great Britain for many years adds:

“I am so thrilled that live farmed animals will never again be exported on long, horrendous journeys from Great Britain only to be fattened or slaughtered. Now the rest of the world must follow.”

Awareness day enters 9th year

Started by Compassion in 2016, this will be our ninth consecutive annual awareness day. For this year’s campaign, we are urging supporters to share our video illustrating the true horror of what farmed animals experience when transported on long journeys. The video - to be released on 14 June - captures just some of the suffering these animals endure, including stress, dehydration, exhaustion, overheating and injuries.

They are also vulnerable to onboard disasters such as fires, ship sinkings, disease outbreaks, adverse weather conditions, and trade route blockages – witnessed recently when the MV Bahijah was turned back to Australia due to the conflict in the Middle East, with over 16,000 cattle and sheep consequently spending months on board the ship. On arrival, animals can face an inhumane death at their final destination in countries where there are no slaughter laws to protect them.

This Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day - Friday, 14 June - we will be releasing a video exposing the cruelty of the live export trade.  Save the date and stand up for animals by sharing our video and posts on social media, using the hashtag #BanLiveExports


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