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Compassion welcomes confirmation of Bill to Ban Live Exports

News Section Icon Published 07/11/2023

Leading animal welfare and environmental charity, Compassion in World Farming, warmly welcomes the confirmation of the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, that will be introduced to Parliament this session and encourage the Government to ensure it passes quickly into law.

The Bill has been included in a supporting document which accompanies The King's Speech. Today, King Charles III set out the Government’s legislative proposals for the months ahead during the State Opening of Parliament. This Bill will deliver on a longstanding Government commitment to finally end the live exports of animals from Great Britain for slaughter or fattening.

Compassion has been campaigning against this cruel and unnecessary trade for over 50 years. Live exports see animals crammed into vehicles on long, stressful journeys causing them to suffer from exhaustion, dehydration and even death.

In May this year, the Government reneged on its manifesto promise to deliver a live exports ban when it dropped the Kept Animals Bill. Since then, Compassion has maintained pressure with actions such as a funereal-themed photo stunt outside Parliament in July, urging the UK Government not to allow their promise to ban this trade to go to the grave.
In addition, over 95,000 signatures were collected within just three months and submitted to the Prime Minister at Downing Street in September – a testament to the public’s support. The petition secured extensive media coverage and unyielding endorsement from celebrities including Compassion’s Patron and long-term supporter, Dame Joanna Lumley.

Dame Joanna Lumley said: “This is absolutely marvellous news. Now the Government must deliver and ban the archaic practice of transporting live animals on long and arduous journeys overseas for slaughter or fattening once and for all.

“Exporting live animals is utterly unnecessary. They suffer enormous stress, exhaustion, dehydration and overcrowding. We have seen a series of broken promises from Government on this subject over the years so this is very welcome news. This Bill must now be passed as a matter of urgency.”

James West, Compassion’s Chief Public Affairs Manager, added: “This is the first King’s Speech since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister last October and we are really delighted he is taking the opportunity to address this issue. We welcome the Government choosing to recognise the widespread public and cross-party support by including a Bill to ban live exports during this parliamentary session and hope we will see swift progress on this issue, which is long over-due.

“Compassion and our supporters have relentlessly spear-headed this campaign for over 50 years. Over the past year we have applauded other countries such as New Zealand and Australia as they have pledged to ban or phase out the trade, so we are delighted the UK is finally back on track to ban this horrific practice one and for all. Today’s King’s Speech announcement, is not only long overdue, but a welcome promise that never again should animals be allowed to be subjected to this cruel trade. We congratulate the Government on including this legislation and it is vital that the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill is quickly introduced to Parliament, so it can be passed and implemented well before the next general election.”

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


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.
  3. Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today, Compassion is a global movement dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa. To find out more about Compassion in World Farming visit:



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