The shame of exports from the EU

Animals International has produced a shocking new video that highlights the immense suffering involved in the global trade in live animals. The film can be seen but please be aware that it contains scenes of an upsetting nature.

Take action

Email the head of the European Commission, Mr Juncker, and the Commissioners for Trade and Agriculture and Rural Development. Tell them that the trade in live animals leaving the EU must stop.

You can find our briefing on EU live exports here.

Each year the EU exports over two million cattle and sheep to the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa. Packed into overcrowded trucks the animals are sent on long road journeys to Turkey or sea ports in southern Europe. From the port they are shipped to the Middle East and North Africa.

The heat inside the trucks can be unbearable with animals desperately panting for air. Often there is insufficient water and animals become so hungry that they resort to eating their filthy bedding. Animals collapse onto the floor of the truck where they risk being trampled by their companions. Recently investigators saw cattle giving birth on the trucks while nearby others lay dying overwhelmed by the rigours of the journey.

Investigations into slaughter in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa have shown that animals are subjected to extremely rough handling and inhumane, incompetent slaughter while they are fully conscious.

In the Middle East, EU animals are slaughtered on the pavement outside butchers’ shops. Sheep are dragged through abattoirs to the slaughter point where they are thrown onto their backs ready for slaughter. In Turkey a chain is tied to the rear leg of cattle. They are then hoisted up, dangling upside-down by one leg. The cattle are hoisted fully off the floor, without any part of their body touching the ground. This is a painful and frightening position for such a large animal.

In Gaza cattle are dragged with ropes from the back of trucks, tied to pillars, and have their throats stabbed and slashed at multiple times. The cattle desperately fight to stay standing even once their throats are cut, but once they collapse they endure minutes of agony as workers continue to hack at their throats.

All these slaughter practices are in breach of the international standards on welfare at slaughter of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). The long journeys often breach a judgment of the European Court of Justice which ruled that, in the case of live exports, EU law on welfare during transport applies even once the truck or ship leaves the EU – it applies right through to the destination in the importing country. But the European Commission and the traders often ignore the Court’s ruling.

This cruel trade is also in breach of the EU Treaty. Article 13 recognises animals as “sentient beings” and requires the Commission and the Member States to pay “full regard” to welfare in formulating agriculture and transport policy. Sending animals to countries where they will be slaughtered with immense brutality is not paying full regard to their welfare.

Please call on the Commission to take action to stop the export of live animals from the EU to non-EU countries. Email the head of the European Commission, Mr Juncker, and the Commissioners for Trade and Agriculture and Rural Development. Tell them that the trade in live animals leaving the EU must stop.

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You can find our briefing on EU live exports here.

Each year the EU exports over two million cattle and sheep to the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa. Packed into overcrowded trucks the animals are sent on long road journeys to Turkey or sea ports in southern Europe. From the port they are shipped to the Middle East and North Africa.

The heat inside the trucks can be unbearable with animals desperately panting for air. Often there is insufficient water and animals become so hungry that they resort to eating their filthy bedding. Animals collapse onto the floor of the truck where they risk being trampled by their companions. Recently investigators saw cattle giving birth on the trucks while nearby others lay dying overwhelmed by the rigours of the journey.

Investigations into slaughter in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa have shown that animals are subjected to extremely rough handling and inhumane, incompetent slaughter while they are fully conscious.

Take action

In the Middle East, EU animals are slaughtered on the pavement outside butchers’ shops. Sheep are dragged through abattoirs to the slaughter point where they are thrown onto their backs ready for slaughter. In Turkey a chain is tied to the rear leg of cattle. They are then hoisted up, dangling upside-down by one leg. The cattle are hoisted fully off the floor, without any part of their body touching the ground. This is a painful and frightening position for such a large animal.

In Gaza cattle are dragged with ropes from the back of trucks, tied to pillars, and have their throats stabbed and slashed at multiple times. The cattle desperately fight to stay standing even once their throats are cut, but once they collapse they endure minutes of agony as workers continue to hack at their throats.

All these slaughter practices are in breach of the international standards on welfare at slaughter of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). The long journeys often breach a judgment of the European Court of Justice which ruled that, in the case of live exports, EU law on welfare during transport applies even once the truck or ship leaves the EU – it applies right through to the destination in the importing country. But the European Commission and the traders often ignore the Court’s ruling.

This cruel trade is also in breach of the EU Treaty. Article 13 recognises animals as “sentient beings” and requires the Commission and the Member States to pay “full regard” to welfare in formulating agriculture and transport policy. Sending animals to countries where they will be slaughtered with immense brutality is not paying full regard to their welfare.

Please call on the Commission to take action to stop the export of live animals from the EU to non-EU countries. Email the head of the European Commission, Mr Juncker, and the Commissioners fTrade and Agriculture and Rural Development. Tell them that the trade in live animals leaving the EU must stop.

Take action