Sheep being exporting in a very crowded shipping container

Help protect animals across Europe

Sign the petition to the European Commission

Every year, millions of farm animals are exported live from the European Union, and millions more are transported long distances within the EU. 

These animals endure journeys of hundreds, or even thousands, of miles, only to be slaughtered on arrival or fattened in often inhumane conditions. 

Please, sign the petition to the European Commission today – demand an end to live exports.  

Right now, we have a crucial chance to influence EU law on the transport of animals. A ‘fitness check’ of the Transport Regulation (1/2005) is underway, and the Commission has committed to revising this legislation. 

We must seize this opportunity. We must show the Commission the full force of public opinion – both within and beyond the EU – against this cruel trade. 

Please call for a ban on live exports and long distance transport, and urge the EU to take further steps to protect farm animals. 

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Karim Allah & Elbeik investigation and footage credit - Animal Welfare Foundation

The European live export trade must end

Legal cruelty

Under current European Union rules, pigs can be transported non-stop in trucks for 24 hours and most sheep and cattle for 29 hours with just a one-hour ‘rest’ during the journey

Then, after unloading and a 24-hour break, this cycle can be repeated as many times as it takes until the animals arrive at their final destination. 

Meanwhile, for many animals, there are no time restrictions on journeys by sea in livestock vessels

This means animals can be on the move for several days or even weeks, at risk of exhaustion, dehydration, stress, injury and even death

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When disaster strikes

On top of the ‘routine’ suffering caused by long distance transport, live exports are inherently risky – with, all too often, tragic consequences.

The International Awareness Day to Ban Live Exports, which takes place on 14th June each year, marks the anniversary of a 2015 live exports tragedy in which an estimated 13,000 sheep lost their lives.

In this incident, by the time the ‘Trust1’ livestock vessel had reached Jordan from Romania, over 5,000 sheep had apparently died of dehydration, starvation and exhaustion. Then, instead of following the instructions of port authorities, the ship’s captain fled.

Ultimately, the ‘Trust1’ set sail again, attempting unsuccessfully to dock at numerous ports before reaching Somalia two weeks later. At this point it was reported that all the remaining sheep were dead.

In November 2019, over 14,000 sheep died when the ‘Queen Hind’ overturned shortly after leaving Midia port in Romania.

According to widespread reports, just 254 animals were rescued from the water or from inside the ship. Most of these animals had spent days trapped in the stricken vessel, alongside thousands of their dead companions. Only 180 went on to survive.

For over three months, from mid-December 2020, nearly 3,000 Spanish cattle were stranded in the Mediterranean Sea, enduring horrific conditions on board the ‘Elbeik’ and ‘Karim Allah’ livestock ships.

Due to fears that the bulls may be infected with bluetongue disease, the vessels were denied entry at port after port.

It was reported that hundreds of the animals died on board, and all those remaining were slaughtered on their eventual return to Spain in March 2021.

When, in early 2021, the Suez Canal was blocked by a 200-metre-long container ship, an estimated 200,000 animals were the helpless victims.

EU transport rules only require ships to carry 25% more bedding, food and water than the minimum daily requirement – or three days’ spare supply if this is greater.

But, with the ‘Ever Given’ lodged across the canal from 23-29 March, numerous livestock vessels – many of which had set out from Spain and Romania – were trapped for a week.

This extended the animals’ already appalling journeys and put them at risk of shortages of food and water.

Let’s reform the system

The EU live export trade is struck by disaster with sad regularity. This is a testament to a lack of controls and penalties, and systemic violations of the Transport Regulation 1/2005.

But, fundamentally, it is the failure of this Regulation to stop live exports and long distance transport that is to blame.

Please, join the international call for reform. It’s time to end this suffering. It’s time to change EU law and ban live exports.

Please spread the word

Wherever we live, if we care about animals, we must unite to protect them. Please ask your friends and family to join the call to ban EU live exports.


Add your voice against live exports


Wherever you live, if you care about animals, please speak out against EU live exports and long distance live transport.

Please sign the petition against this cruel trade and urge the European Commission to take further steps to protect farm animals.