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Momentum builds for further live export bans as campaigners mark international awareness day

Press Release Section Icon 12/06/2024

Citizens and activists around the world are being asked to make a stand for animals by calling for action to ban live farm animal exports across the globe as part of this year’s Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day on 14 June.

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 from the EU alone. During this time, they often endure horrific conditions such as overcrowding and extreme temperatures causing enormous pain and distress.

Just weeks ago, Great Britain introduced a ban on live exports for fattening and slaughter, and Australia 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, Global Director of Campaigns and Policy Advocacy, Compassion in World Farming 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 need 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.”

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 released by Compassion in World Farming and 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, with journeys lasting up to three weeks as far as Brazil, Vietnam and Nigeria.

This is the ninth consecutive annual awareness day, organised by Compassion in World Farming, and citizens are being urged to share a video illustrating the true horror of what farmed animals experience when transported on long journeys. The video captures just some of the suffering these animals endure, including stress, dehydration, exhaustion, overheating and injuries.

They are also vulnerable to on-board 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 Awareness Day, people are being urged to stand up for animals by sharing the video on social media, using the hashtag #BanLiveExports.


For more information please contact: 

Compassion in World Farming EU’s media team at or call +44 (0)1483 521 615 outside office hours.  

Notes to Editors  

  1. Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa. 
  2. On 14 May, in Great Britain, the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill passed its final stage in parliament, following 50 years of campaigning by Compassion in World Farming, other NGOs and supporters.
  3. The date of 14 June was chosen to mark the live export tragedy that occurred on the same day in 2015 when 13,000 sheep tragically lost their lives during a long sea journey from Romania to Somalia. Along the way thousands of sheep died from dehydration, starvation and exhaustion.

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