Ban Live Exports from the UK

czech cow in transport

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has suggested that Britain may end the cruel UK live export trade after Brexit. Please email him today, welcoming this suggestion and urging him to act.

Compassion’s investigators have just arrived back from the Turkish/Bulgarian border, where they have been documenting the condition of animals in transit. What they found was shocking and appalling, but sadly not surprising.

Time and again we see evidence that animals suffer during long distance transport, but nothing is done. Brexit gives the British government an opportunity to take a stand. We must ensure the global trade in animals for fattening or slaughter is dismantled, a UK ban would be a historic first step.

Email Michael Gove

Investigating Live Transport

Our courageous investigators spent 10 days at the Bulgarian/Turkish border in August 2017, documenting the conditions of the animals passing through. Please note, this account contains images and information which some may find distressing.

During the ten days, our investigators witnessed huge volumes of animals passing through the border. In temperatures above 30°, the animals were suffering from poor health. This was a result of the filthy and dangerous conditions on the trucks; the complete disregard for laws; and the apathy of those who were supposed to protect them.

high temperatures

Our investigators were able to provide us with a wealth of information, which we have passed to the authorities involved. Along with other animal welfare organisations we are making a concerted effort to get the European Commission to take action to end long distance transport of live animals.

Take action to ban live exports

A gruelling journey

Before the cattle and sheep had even reached the border, they had already endured gruelling journeys, measured in days rather than hours1.

Our investigators witnessed trucks loaded with sheep or cows, several tiers high. The ceilings of each tier were so low that they touched the animals’ backs2. Not only does this mean that they could not raise their heads adequately, but it left the animals uncomfortably trapped, unable to see clearly, and made it harder for them to maintain their balance.

low ceilings

In the middle of August, in southern Europe, the outside temperature was already high. Inside the trucks – many with broken ventilation systems – with animals pressed in on all sides, the temperature reached in excess of 35°C3.

Often the watering systems were not functioning, leaving animals dehydrated in the unbearable heat. Even when the watering systems were working, not all animals were able to access them due to the cramped conditions4.

The animals were not just at risk of injury from being crushed or walked upon by others. Some of the trucks had partitions with dangerous gaps in which the animals’ legs could become trapped. Others had sharp edges which could inflict nasty cuts on the animals unfortunate enough to fall into or be pressed against them5.

Many of the vehicles had no straw or other bedding materials provided for the animals. The animals were forced to lie in a deep layer of faeces and urine on the hard floors of the truck. Where bedding was used, it was often sparse, sodden, and filthy6.

crammed in

From the dreadful conditions the animals were forced to endure, it was no surprise, but still deeply upsetting, to find some animals underweight, and others coughing and showing signs of injury and illness7. On some trucks, animals had died8, and those still alive were unable to avoid the decomposing bodies of their dead companions.

Take action on long distance transport

Fast track to nowhere

To make matters worse, it was not only the conditions inside the trucks that caused this misery and suffering. Despite the border having a designated ‘Live Animal Lane’ to speed up journey times, there was nobody staffing it, and so it could not be used9. This forced the trucks containing animals to join the standard control lines, adding to the journey times.

crammed in

Once they had reached the border, the paperwork required to move the animals through was often missing or incomplete10, resulting in extensive delays for the animals inside.

Many of the trucks, journey times and conditions for the animals that were witnessed were in breach of transport regulations. Despite this being an official border control point, no systematic action was being taken to relieve suffering.

Once through the border, the animals would continue their journeys, some for many days more, all to meet uncertain fates.

Demand an end to live exports


Breaches of EU law

The information our investigators collected shows numerous breaches of the Transport Directive (Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, of 22nd December 2004, on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC abd 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97).

In the footnotes below, we have highlighted a number of legal requirements that have been breached.

It is arguable that most, if not all, long distance live animal transport is in breach of the Transport Directive. Chapter I, Article 3, General conditions for the transport of animals, states that "No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them." Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1 goes further and states "No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.". We consider it to be almost impossible to transport live farm animals such distances and over a period of so many hours and days, without a high probability of some injury. We also consider the long distance live transport of animals cruel and unnecessary, especially as there is the alternative of transporting carcasses in refrigerated trucks and lorries.

1Length of journey

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (a) All necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet animals' needs during the journey;

2Low ceilings

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (g) sufficient floor area and height is provided for the animals, appropriate to their size and the intended journey;
  • Annex I, Chapter II, Section 1.2:
    Sufficient space shall be provided inside the animals' compartment and at each of its levels to ensure that there is adequate ventilation above the animals when they are in a naturally standing position, without on any account hindering their natural movement.

3High temperatures

  • Annex I, Chapter II, Section 1.1:
    Means of transport, containers and their fittings shall be designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to:
    (b) protect the animals from inclement weather, extreme temperatures and adverse changes in climatic conditions;
  • Annex I, Chapter VI, Section 3.1:
    Ventilation systems on means of transport by road shall be designed, constructed and maintained in such way that, at any time during the journey, whether the means of transport is stationary or moving, they are capable of maintaining a range of temperatures from 5°C to 30°C within the means of transport, for all animals, with a +/- 5°C tolerance, depending on the outside temperature.

4Broken watering systems/inability to access them

  • Annex I, Chapter IV, Article 4:
    The fresh water system shall be capable of supplying freshwater continuously in each livestock area and sufficient receptacles shall be available to ensure that all animals have easy and constant access to fresh water. Alternative pumping equipment shall be available to ensure water supply in the event of failure of the primary pumping system.

5Gaps and sharp edges in the trucks

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (c) the means of transport are designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and ensure the safety of the animals
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1:
    No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.

6Lack of bedding/dirty bedding

  • Annex I, Chapter VI, Section 1.2:
    Animals shall be provided with appropriate bedding or equivalent material which guarantees their comfort appropriate to the species, the number of animals being transported, the journey time, and the weather. This material has to ensure adequate absorption of urine and faeces.

7Underweight, coughing, illness, weakness

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (b) the animals are fit for the journey;
    (f) the transport is carried out without delay to the place of destination and the welfare conditions of the animals are regularly checked and appropriately maintained
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1:
    No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 4:
    When animals fall ill or are injured during transport, they shall be separated from the others and receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible. They shall be given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter or killing in a way which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering.

8Dead animals in trucks

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (b) the animals are fit for the journey;
    (f) the transport is carried out without delay to the place of destination and the welfare conditions of the animals are regularly checked and appropriately maintained;
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1:
    No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 4:
    When animals fall ill or are injured during transport, they shall be separated from the others and receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible. They shall be given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter or killing in a way which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering.

9Fastrack lane closed

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (a) all necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet animals' needs during the journey;
  • Chapter III, Article 22:
    1. The competent authority shall take the necessary measures to prevent or reduce to a minimum any delay during transport or suffering by animals when unforeseeable circumstances impede the application of this Regulation. The competent authority shall ensure that special arrangements are made at the place of transfers, exit points and border inspection posts to give priority to the transport of animals.

10Paperwork missing/incomplete

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (a) all necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet animals' needs during the journey;
  • Chapter II, Article 4:
    2. The transporter shall make the documentation provided for in paragraph 1 available to the competent authority upon request.

End live exports

Take action

Email Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to welcome his suggestion that Britain may end live exports after Brexit.

Please only email Michael Gove if you live in the UK. If you live elsewhere, please take action against long distance transport here.

 
 

Subject line

 
 

Your message

 
Dear Mr Gove,
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has suggested that Britain may end the cruel UK live export trade after Brexit. Please email him today, welcoming this suggestion and urging him to act.

Compassion’s investigators have just arrived back from the Turkish/Bulgarian border, where they have been documenting the condition of animals in transit. What they found was shocking and appalling, but sadly not surprising.

Time and again we see evidence that animals suffer during long distance transport, but nothing is done. Brexit gives the British government an opportunity to take a stand. We must ensure the global trade in animals for fattening or slaughter is dismantled, a UK ban would be a historic first step.

Email Michael Gove

Investigating Live Transport

Our courageous investigators spent 10 days at the Bulgarian/Turkish border in August 2017, documenting the conditions of the animals passing through. Please note, this account contains images and information which some may find distressing.

During the ten days, our investigators witnessed huge volumes of animals passing through the border. In temperatures above 30°, the animals were suffering from poor health. This was a result of the filthy and dangerous conditions on the trucks; the complete disregard for laws; and the apathy of those who were supposed to protect them.

high temperatures

Our investigators were able to provide us with a wealth of information, which we have passed to the authorities involved. Along with other animal welfare organisations we are making a concerted effort to get the European Commission to take action to end long distance transport of live animals.

Take action to ban live exports

A gruelling journey

Before the cattle and sheep had even reached the border, they had already endured gruelling journeys, measured in days rather than hours1.

Our investigators witnessed trucks loaded with sheep or cows, several tiers high. The ceilings of each tier were so low that they touched the animals’ backs2. Not only does this mean that they could not raise their heads adequately, but it left the animals uncomfortably trapped, unable to see clearly, and made it harder for them to maintain their balance.

low ceilings

In the middle of August, in southern Europe, the outside temperature was already high. Inside the trucks – many with broken ventilation systems – with animals pressed in on all sides, the temperature reached in excess of 35°C3.

Often the watering systems were not functioning, leaving animals dehydrated in the unbearable heat. Even when the watering systems were working, not all animals were able to access them due to the cramped conditions4.

The animals were not just at risk of injury from being crushed or walked upon by others. Some of the trucks had partitions with dangerous gaps in which the animals’ legs could become trapped. Others had sharp edges which could inflict nasty cuts on the animals unfortunate enough to fall into or be pressed against them5.

Many of the vehicles had no straw or other bedding materials provided for the animals. The animals were forced to lie in a deep layer of faeces and urine on the hard floors of the truck. Where bedding was used, it was often sparse, sodden, and filthy6.

crammed in

From the dreadful conditions the animals were forced to endure, it was no surprise, but still deeply upsetting, to find some animals underweight, and others coughing and showing signs of injury and illness7. On some trucks, animals had died8, and those still alive were unable to avoid the decomposing bodies of their dead companions.

Take action on long distance transport

Fast track to nowhere

To make matters worse, it was not only the conditions inside the trucks that caused this misery and suffering. Despite the border having a designated ‘Live Animal Lane’ to speed up journey times, there was nobody staffing it, and so it could not be used9. This forced the trucks containing animals to join the standard control lines, adding to the journey times.

crammed in

Once they had reached the border, the paperwork required to move the animals through was often missing or incomplete10, resulting in extensive delays for the animals inside.

Many of the trucks, journey times and conditions for the animals that were witnessed were in breach of transport regulations. Despite this being an official border control point, no systematic action was being taken to relieve suffering.

Once through the border, the animals would continue their journeys, some for many days more, all to meet uncertain fates.

Demand an end to live exports


Breaches of EU law

The information our investigators collected shows numerous breaches of the Transport Directive (Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, of 22nd December 2004, on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC abd 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97).

In the footnotes below, we have highlighted a number of legal requirements that have been breached.

It is arguable that most, if not all, long distance live animal transport is in breach of the Transport Directive. Chapter I, Article 3, General conditions for the transport of animals, states that "No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them." Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1 goes further and states "No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.". We consider it to be almost impossible to transport live farm animals such distances and over a period of so many hours and days, without a high probability of some injury. We also consider the long distance live transport of animals cruel and unnecessary, especially as there is the alternative of transporting carcasses in refrigerated trucks and lorries.

1Length of journey

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (a) All necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet animals' needs during the journey;

2Low ceilings

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (g) sufficient floor area and height is provided for the animals, appropriate to their size and the intended journey;
  • Annex I, Chapter II, Section 1.2:
    Sufficient space shall be provided inside the animals' compartment and at each of its levels to ensure that there is adequate ventilation above the animals when they are in a naturally standing position, without on any account hindering their natural movement.

3High temperatures

  • Annex I, Chapter II, Section 1.1:
    Means of transport, containers and their fittings shall be designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to:
    (b) protect the animals from inclement weather, extreme temperatures and adverse changes in climatic conditions;
  • Annex I, Chapter VI, Section 3.1:
    Ventilation systems on means of transport by road shall be designed, constructed and maintained in such way that, at any time during the journey, whether the means of transport is stationary or moving, they are capable of maintaining a range of temperatures from 5°C to 30°C within the means of transport, for all animals, with a +/- 5°C tolerance, depending on the outside temperature.

4Broken watering systems/inability to access them

  • Annex I, Chapter IV, Article 4:
    The fresh water system shall be capable of supplying freshwater continuously in each livestock area and sufficient receptacles shall be available to ensure that all animals have easy and constant access to fresh water. Alternative pumping equipment shall be available to ensure water supply in the event of failure of the primary pumping system.

5Gaps and sharp edges in the trucks

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (c) the means of transport are designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and ensure the safety of the animals
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1:
    No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.

6Lack of bedding/dirty bedding

  • Annex I, Chapter VI, Section 1.2:
    Animals shall be provided with appropriate bedding or equivalent material which guarantees their comfort appropriate to the species, the number of animals being transported, the journey time, and the weather. This material has to ensure adequate absorption of urine and faeces.

7Underweight, coughing, illness, weakness

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (b) the animals are fit for the journey;
    (f) the transport is carried out without delay to the place of destination and the welfare conditions of the animals are regularly checked and appropriately maintained
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1:
    No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 4:
    When animals fall ill or are injured during transport, they shall be separated from the others and receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible. They shall be given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter or killing in a way which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering.

8Dead animals in trucks

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (b) the animals are fit for the journey;
    (f) the transport is carried out without delay to the place of destination and the welfare conditions of the animals are regularly checked and appropriately maintained;
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 1:
    No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.
  • Annex I, Chapter I, Section 4:
    When animals fall ill or are injured during transport, they shall be separated from the others and receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible. They shall be given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter or killing in a way which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering.

9Fastrack lane closed

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (a) all necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet animals' needs during the journey;
  • Chapter III, Article 22:
    1. The competent authority shall take the necessary measures to prevent or reduce to a minimum any delay during transport or suffering by animals when unforeseeable circumstances impede the application of this Regulation. The competent authority shall ensure that special arrangements are made at the place of transfers, exit points and border inspection posts to give priority to the transport of animals.

10Paperwork missing/incomplete

  • Chapter I, Article 3:
    (a) all necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet animals' needs during the journey;
  • Chapter II, Article 4:
    2. The transporter shall make the documentation provided for in paragraph 1 available to the competent authority upon request.

End live exports