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News Section Icon Published 30/01/2023

Today, several farm ministers told the European Commission not to ban live animal exports at a meeting in Brussels. It is sad that farm ministers are blocking progress, thus prolonging the suffering of millions of animals going through hellish journeys each year. We call on the European Commission to resist the pressure by those who defend the status quo. 

sheep during transport

Blocking progress

While Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg called on the European Commission to ban the export of animals outside EU borders, other farm ministers spoke against a ban during today’s Council meeting in Brussels.

France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Spain publicly opposed this animal welfare measure in a paper presented at today’s meeting. They were now joined by Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Italy and Poland, who call for a continuation of this cruel trade.

These ministers have ignored the latest science and the majority of EU citizens who oppose this cruel trade, sending today a strong warning to EU Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, who is drafting the upcoming revision of the animal welfare legislation. This is unfortunate, as their countries can block any ambitious revision of the EU transport law.

cows during transport

What a shame!

“It’s ludicrous how certain EU ministers pay lip service to animal welfare and at the same time they tell the European Commission to carry on with business as usual," said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. "Today, they did all they could to lower the Commission’s ambition – before any drafts are even made public!"

"Commissioner Kyriakides strives for what’s best for both animals and citizens, based on the latest science, but many EU farm ministers could care less and continue to protect the interests of the status quo, prolonging the unnecessary suffering of animals. What a shame," Olga added. "This will certainly not sit well with the millions of citizens who have called for an end to this cruel trade.”

Tremendous suffering

Every year, millions of farmed animals are forced to endure journeys of hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometers. They are crammed into vehicles, suffering extremes of temperature and often without sufficient food, water or rest. Many are injured or trampled to death.


EU citizens have repeatedly called on the EU to ban live exports and long-distance animal transport. In fact, the vast majority of EU citizens (94 percent as consulted by the Commission in 2021 and 2022) have said they favoured ending the live animal trade. Recently, more than 900 000 citizens called on the EU to ban live exports through a petition by Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS, WeMove Europe and Animals International.

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