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.
This was a historic moment. The live export industry is incredibly cruel and such a ban will spare thousands of farmed animals from a great deal of physical and mental suffering.
However, our work is not over yet. 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.
The urgency for a ban
In 2019, a staggering 26,721 farmed animals were exported from Scotland across Europe. These numbers include the 2,082 calves discarded by the dairy industry that were exported to Spain for ‘fattening’ and 1,805 pigs exported for breeding on journeys lasting up to 135 hours.
Until a live exports ban is introduced, sheep, cows and pigs will continue to be forced to endure the long journeys, cramped conditions, uncontrolled temperatures, disease and insufficient food and water supplies. These animals may even give birth, become injured or die during these long and gruelling journeys.
With long journey durations and large numbers of animals aboard live export ships, the live export trade has also been the subject of several large-scale disasters.
Earlier this year, 3,000 cows were stranded in the Mediterranean sea for 3 months. Eventually, the animals were slaughtered by Spanish authorities. Sadly 179 bulls had already died due to the ‘dire conditions’, as described by an official Spanish veterinary report, onboard one of the ships. The ships had been refused entry to multiple countries on of ‘health grounds’.
Last year, a live exports ship carrying animals from New Zealand capsized in the East China sea. The 5,867 ‘dairy cows’ and 41 crew members were all presumed to have drowned. This is sadly not an isolated case. In 2019, a live export ship travelling from Romania to Saudi Arabia capsized, resulting in the deaths of more than 14,000 sheep. Originally, the number of deaths was reported as 14, 420, but upon inspection of the ship during a recovery mission, secret decks housing many more sheep were discovered.
For Ban Live Exports Day, please take action and sign our petition calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a live exports ban at the same as the UK Government and Welsh Government and as soon as possible.
Once you’ve taken action, please share the petition across social media using the hashtag #BanLiveExports. If you are a Twitter user, you can click here to be redirected to Twitter with a pre-written tweet. For Facebook, click here.