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Live Exports

We at believe that the live export of all farm animals should cease.

It’s a morally bankrupt trade and has no place in a civilised society.

That is our view and that is our campaign objective:

to help bring about an end to this cruel and unnecessary trade.

Live animals, including calves, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses are routinely transported by road, rail, sea or air across countries and continents. Millions endure journeys of hundreds, and often thousands, of kilometres, only to be slaughtered on arrival or be fattened in frequently inhumane conditions. Exhaustion and dehydration are the norm on these journeys. The animals can be in transit for days, suffering extremes of temperature and often without sufficient food, water or rest. Many will die before they arrive at the destination.


Animals are sentient beings and feel pain and stress just like we do. Long distance live animal transport more often than not results in overcrowding, with animals being crammed into vehicles, and many being injured or trampled to death.

When animals are exported from Europe to countries outside the EU, they are no longer protected by EU law. This means they can face terrible abuse during transport and at the time of slaughter.


In addition to routine suffering, long distance live transport can also result in fires, delays or sinking of livestock ships causing the suffering and death of large numbers of animals. The spread of diseases across the globe (bluetongue virus, foot and mouth disease, avian influenza, swine fever) can be directly attributable to the live transportation of farm animals.

EU legislation is very specific when it comes to the requirement to provide rest and water during long-distance transport, yet it is commonplace for these regulations to be ignored, leading to situations in which animals can go without rest or water for 24 and more hours.




The export of live cattle and calves from Ireland has risen dramatically in recent years due to the massive increase in the size of the dairy herd, with over 200,000 calves being exported to Europe in 2019.

The ferry journey is around 19 hours and they cannot be fed without being unloaded.

On these long and arduous journeys, calves often have no access to food or water for in excess of 24 hours.

They cannot regulate their own body temperature efficiently and they have weak immune systems which leave them susceptible to illnesses like pneumonia. The veal farms they end up in are indoor barns with barren stalls that are too narrow for the calves to turn around in. Bare, slatted flooring is the norm.

The majority of exported calves are sent to Spain where they can end up transported on to Libya, Lebanon and Turkey. Welfare legislation in these countries is weak and poorly enforced, while slaughter methods are barbaric and inhumane.



Slaughter is an integral part of animal farming. Without the end game of the killing floor, animal farming wouldn’t exist.

We don’t know for certain how a cow or a chicken feels as they enter the slaughterhouse, or how they feel moments before they are stunned, or have their throats slit when they are not pre-stunned.  But we can use our common sense. We know that every single animal who is transported to the slaughterhouse is a sentient being who does not want to die.

(Of course, one could argue that the life of many of these factory-farmed animals has been so horrible that it is a mercy to kill them. But this doesn’t factor in the countless examples of factory-farmed animals who have recovered to live a decent life on a farm animal sanctuary).

Some Shocking Facts About Slaughter

Around 1 billion chickens a year are ineffectively stunned prior to slaughter in the EU. They experience an agonising electric shock that fails to properly stun them, followed by the pain, and terror, of being slaughtered while fully conscious.

High concentrations of CO2 gas are routinely used to make pigs unconscious prior to slaughter. CO2 gas results in a burning and then drowning-like sensation and can cause around 15-30 seconds of severe suffering prior to the pigs losing consciousness. Over 2 million animals are exported live out of the EU each year. They are sent to countries where they receive no legal protection at the time of slaughter.

Many face agonising, drawn out slaughter. Very large numbers of animals in the EU – 18% of all sheep, and 27% of all goats – are not killed in official slaughter houses. This means that their slaughter goes entirely unregulated.

Approximately 1 billion fish are farmed and slaughtered in the EU each year. Although EU law requires fish to be spared avoidable suffering at slaughter, and although the technology exists to make fish unconscious prior to slaughter, the vast majority are left to suffocate or killed while fully conscious in ways that cause immense suffering.

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