More realities of live animal exports

08 March 2012

In the latest example of the problems with long distance live animal transport, Compassion in World Farming has learned from reports that a livestock ship has been stuck on the frozen Danube river for one month.

The ship reportedly taking 4,000 sheep and 400 cattle from Romania to Libya has now been freed from the ice and is back on course. However, we are extremely concerned about the slaughter conditions the animals will face in Libya.

Inhumane slaughter

Investigations into slaughter in much of North Africa have frequently found evidence of inhumane practices.

  • Animals were roughly, even brutally, handled
  • They were dragged to the place of slaughter
  • Their throats were cut while they are fully conscious
  • They were left to bleed to death

We are calling on the European Commission to take urgent steps to ensure that these EU animals are treated humanely when they reach Libya and in particular that they are slaughtered in accordance with the rules on welfare at slaughter of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The EU has a huge trade in the export of live farm animals to countries

  • In 2011 over one million cattle and sheep were sent from the EU to Turkey for slaughter and fattening.
  • France exported over 90,000 cattle and sheep to the Middle East in 2010. Cattle are also being sent from Ireland on massive journeys to Morocco.
  • Cattle are being exported from the EU to Russia and even to Kazakhstan.

Peter Stevenson, Compassion's Chief Policy Advisor says: "It is a scandal that the EU, which claims to care about animal welfare, is engaged in this inhumane traffic in living creatures. We believe that the EU must now bring these exports to an end as the distances involved in the trade of live animals from the EU to third countries are simply too great to guarantee the welfare of the animals."

Take Action

  • Compassion supports the 8hours campaign, which calls for all live transport of animals in the EU for fattening and slaughter to be limited to eight hours. Show your support.
  • A similar crisis took place this week in the Red Sea, where thousands of cattle died on board a ship. We are now told that the cattle died due to adverse weather conditions but we have been unable to confirm this. Read more about this catastrophe.

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