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Dame Joanna Lumley urges UK Government to Ban Live Exports

News Section Icon Published 20/09/2023

Today (20 September), Compassion in World Farming was joined by Patron Dame Joanna Lumley DBE, outside 10 Downing Street, to deliver a petition with more than 95,000 signatures calling on the Prime Minister to show true leadership for animals and ban live exports.

The live export of animals causes enormous suffering – overcrowding, exhaustion, dehydration and stress.  Animals are crammed into vehicles where they may not have room to lie down. They can be injured or even trampled to death. During these long journeys animals may suffer extremes of temperature, often without sufficient rest, food or water. This cruel trade would have been banned by the Kept Animals Bill, but the UK Government dropped the Bill in May this year.

Patron and long-term supporter of Compassion’s campaign to Ban Live Exports, Dame Joanna Lumley, said: “In May, after 18 months of stalling, the UK Government withdrew the Bill that was set to ban live exports. This is a huge betrayal of animals. It’s high time the Government delivers on its commitment to end this trade. So come on Rishi Sunak, what are you waiting for?”

The charity has campaigned relentlessly for over 50 years to make this abhorrent practise illegal. In recent months, other countries have banned or begun to phase out the trade, and yet the UK Government has failed to make progress, despite manifesto pledges.

James West, Compassion's Chief Public Affairs Manager, said: “We are outraged that, having introduced legislation which easily passed its initial stages and had broad cross-party support, the UK Government dithered for 18 months then abandoned the Bill. We are therefore continuing to keep up the pressure to ensure legislation that results in a live exports ban remains high on the UK political agenda.

We believe animals should be fattened and slaughtered as close as possible to their place of birth. “The exportation of live animals for those purposes is simply unnecessary and must be banned by the Government without further delay.”


For more information or to arrange interview please email or call 01483 521 615.

Download images of the petition hand in.

Notes to Editors:

  1. In May 2023, the Government dropped the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which would have banned live exports for slaughter or fattening from Great Britain, despite the Bill having received cross-party support during previous Commons stages.
  2. Other countries have taken positive steps recently to address the welfare of animals subjected to live exports. New Zealand banned this trade earlier this year, Australia has committed to phasing out exports and in April, a Brazilian court banned the export of live cattle from all the country's ports.

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