The live export of animals for slaughter is a serious animal welfare problem. OneKind is calling on the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government & Welsh Government to deliver a ban across the whole of Great Britain at the same time, and as soon as possible.
The export of live animals for slaughter on continental Europe or North Africa is a huge problem.
In 2018, around 5,728 calves were sent from Scotland for fattening to Spain, while 4,587 sheep were exported to Ireland for slaughter. In 2019, 2,082 calves discarded by the dairy industry were exported to Spain for ‘fattening’ on journeys lasting up to 135 hours.
On 8 June 2021 the UK Government introduced the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill to parliament, which introduces a ban on the live export of farmed animals for fattening or slaughter, from or through Great Britain.
The Bill still needs to work its way through Parliament before it becomes law. As it is currently written, the bill allows the governments in devolved nations to choose the date they implement the ban. That could mean the ban coming into force at different times in Scotland, Wales, and England, leaving animals vulnerable to being exported.
We are urging the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government and the Welsh Government to deliver a ban across the whole of Great Britain at the same time, and as soon as possible.
What are the welfare issues with live exports?
The long-distance transport of live animals to Europe is a serious animal welfare problem.
There is no maximum duration of journey limit, which means that journeys may be excessively long. Scientific and veterinary evidence shows that long journeys impose stress on animals, especially when they are young.
Cramped & inadequate conditions
Animals are crammed into vehicles so tightly, that many become injured or may even be trampled to death.
With animals crammed into vehicles during summer months, it is no surprise that heat stress is one of the most common welfare issues onboard live export ships.
Starvation & dehydration
Animals may be in transit for days without adequate access to food and water.
Animals are transported all year round, in very hot and freezing temperatures and so disease is rife. Unweaned calves are particularly susceptible to infection and illness, as like human infants, their immune systems and undeveloped.
With long journey durations and large numbers of animals aboard live export ships, the live export trade has been the subject of large-scale disasters. For example, last year a live export ship travelling from Romania to Saudi Arabia capsized, resulting in the deaths of more than 14,000 sheep.
What is OneKind doing?
We’re taking a stand against this horrific trade. Our recent highlights include:
- Supporting Compassion in World Farming’s judicial review of the Scottish Government’s decision to export weeks old calves, who are still dependent on their mother’s milk, without adequate access to food or water.
- Taking part in the #BanLiveExports Day ‘Twitterstorm’ on the 14th June 2020 with international animal welfare organisations from 30 countries. 3,100 people tweeted the Scottish Government about it’s failure to protect animals from the live export trade and the campaign was picked up by Deborah Meaden and Peter Egan.
- Responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on welfare of animals during transport. You can read out response here.
- Responding to the UK Government’s consultation on improvements to animal welfare during transport. You can read our response here.
- In April 2021, releasing the report “Emotional beings- Why farmed animal welfare matters in a Good Food Nation” to raise awareness of famed animals as sentient, individual beings as opposed to “units of production”.