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The EU’s cruellest trade exposed

News Section Icon Published 08/12/2014

We are hosting an exhibition at the European Parliament from 8th - 11th December denouncing the EU’s cruellest trade: the export of live animals to countries outside of the EU.

Peter Stevenson, our Chief Policy Adviser, says: “This callous trade in live European animals is unacceptable. Animals are being slaughtered in conditions of unimaginable cruelty. These horrifying scenes of inept slaughter mean EU animals are subjected to terrible suffering at the most vulnerable moment of their lives.”

The problem 

When animals are exported they are no longer protected by EU law on their transport or slaughter.

In the first 8 months of 2014 more than 1.7 million cattle and sheep were exported live from the EU mainly to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

Our Investigation Unit has witnessed animals in slaughterhouses being dragged by their tails, legs, fleeces and even eye sockets. This comes at the end of journeys by road and sea that can last more than a week.

Lebanon asks for assistance from the EU

In 2013, as part of our investigation into the fate of exported EU animals we witnessed animals being subjected to brutal slaughter conditions in an abattoir in Beirut.

Last week, we met with officials in Beirut including the Agriculture Minister, Health Minister and Governor of Beirut. It was clear that there was a desire to improve the situation but that resources are very limited. We are calling on  the EU to provide assistance to Lebanon to improve the conditions for animals at slaughter.

Pru Elliott, our Campaigns Officer says: “The EU needs to take responsibility for these animals it carelessly sends to be slaughtered in abysmal conditions.”

The solution

Pru, continued: “The trade in live animals must be stopped and replaced by a trade in meat.”

“In the meantime, The EU must ensure that, once they leave the EU, its animals are transported and slaughtered in accordance with the international animal welfare standards of the OIE. Australia is a major exporter of animals to the Middle East.  By law it requires exporters to ensure that when Australian animals reach the importing country they are handled and slaughtered in conformity with the OIE standards. 

“We have asked the Commission to introduce a similar scheme but they have failed to do so.”

Take action 

Tell the European Commission they must do all they can to stop the suffering of exported livestock


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