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LIVE EXPORTS: bad welfare, bad news for the animals

4th March 2024

talking about animals



LIVE EXPORTS: bad welfare, bad news for the animals


Life is stressful enough for farm animals, what with mutilations and marts and being bought and sold and herded on and off trailers, not to mention the journey to the slaughterhouse and, let's be honest, the pure savagery of that final act. So why add to the suffering by forcing them to endure long-distance travel on trucks and ships? They have no way of knowing what is happening, or why, or for how long. Discomfort, stress, fear, injury, pain – these are the constants that accompany them on these horrendous journeys.



Forcing animals to endure lengthy journeys on rough seas and on long-haul continental trucks is not and can never be good, or high, animal welfare. And when the animals eventually arrive at their destination, often after a journey of many days’ duration, it's never a better place they're being sent to. Either it's a cruel and exploitative veal farm; or it's to be loaded onto an open-top truck in the searing North African heat and trucked to a brutal slaughter, without pre-stunning; or, it's to be crammed into feeding lots to be fattened and sent to slaughter. 



Accept the fact that long-distance travel for all animals is not and can never be good welfare.

Limit the length of all journeys to eight hours.

Build more regional slaughterhouses so the animals don't have to travel more than an hour to slaughter. 

Stop the live export of male calves from the dairy industry.

The implementation of the measures above would be an immeasurable improvement on the current situation.



Stop exporting all farm animals.

Acknowledge and accept that animals are not ours to use—for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation; that they deserve consideration of what is in their best interests, regardless of whether they are useful to humans.

Remove exploitation and unnecessary suffering of all animals. 

Embrace compassion by switching to a plant-based diet.


I'm happy to discuss this issue on air, also more than willing to debate with an industry representative.




ANIMAL WELFARE AND ANIMAL RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS across Europe have been campaigning to end the live export trade for decades. In Ireland, any criticism of the trade is met with outrage and hostility. Farming organisations claim live exports is an economic necessity (there exists no evidence to support this view), while for farmers, it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, despite their oft-repeated claim that they love their animals and that Ireland has the highest welfare standards in the world.


DOES SENDING BY CARGO thousands of young bulls on a 10-day journey to Libya, Israel or Turkey qualify for high welfare?

Does transporting calves, pigs, cattle and sheep across Europe in crowded lorries seem like high welfare? 


LIVE ANIMALS 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. Some die before they arrive at the slaughterhouse.


WHEN ANIMALS ARE EXPORTED FROM EUROPE to countries outside the EU, they are no longer protected by EU law. Investigations have shown that they face terrible abuse during transport and at the time of slaughter.


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, including unweaned calves. 


UK GOVERNMENT TO BAN LIVE EXPORTS – the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, introduced to the UK Parliament on 4th December, will deliver on a longstanding UK Government commitment to finally ban the export of live farmed animals for slaughter or fattening from Great Britain.


Gerry Boland   -   4th March 2024


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