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A huge win: Historic moment marked for UK farmed animals after 50-year campaign to Ban Live Exports

News Section Icon Published 14/05/2024

Today (14th May), we’re absolutely delighted that – following more than 50 years of campaigning – the Bill that will see a ban on the cruel trade in live animal exports has passed its final stage in Parliament and will soon be enshrined in law. This is a truly momentous day for farmed animals and one to be celebrated!

An end to the suffering

Once it comes into force, the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Act will mean that farmed animals can no longer be exported from Great Britain for slaughter or fattening. This horrific, unnecessary, and archaic trade, which for decades has seen millions of animals crammed into vehicles on long, stressful journeys causing suffering, exhaustion and even death, will officially end.

Unwavering support

The passing of this legislation is the culmination of the relentless efforts of our unwavering supporters for over five decades. During this time, large and lively protests were held at ports, which supporters from all walks of life joined to give animals a voice. As well as organising well-attended rallies at which MPs and High Profile Supporters have spoken out, we’ve released undercover investigations, highlighting the horror of live exports. We’ve also held multiple other events to raise awareness, including roadshows, and led numerous petitions calling on the UK Government to end the trade.

Our Ban Live Exports campaign has received unyielding support from celebrities including our Patron, Dame Joanna Lumley, who exclaimed: “Finally, finally, finally, we can celebrate the news that live farm animals will never again be exported on long, horrendous journeys from our shores only to be fattened or slaughtered. For decades, we at Compassion in World Farming have worked tirelessly to bring this campaign to everyone’s attention.

“We are deeply thankful to the Government for taking action at long last and to our supporters for never giving up the fight – I’m so proud to say that, together, we have banned live exports!”

A hard-fought victory

Philip Lymbery, our Global CEO, added jubilantly: “This is a huge day to celebrate and one that has been long-awaited. For decades, farmed animals have endured these senseless and arduous exports to the continent – but no longer! I am phenomenally proud of our supporters whose dedication and persistence have helped secure this hard-fought victory.

“It has been a very difficult journey to get this policy over the line with many stumbling blocks along the way. It’s a relief to see this horrific practice now end once and for all and we congratulate the Prime Minister and his Government for making it happen.”

Yvonne Birchall, from Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE), said: “For 29 years, KAALE and their supporters have demonstrated outside UK ports as live export shipments have been loaded on vessels bound for Europe. It has been truly heartbreaking to witness these animals crammed into trucks.”

“Whatever the weather, whatever the time of day, KAALE have attended these sailings, and our members are the last friendly faces millions of animals will have seen before being exported. We are delighted that the law will finally ban this cruel trade and the people of Kent will no longer need to stand up in opposition to it.”

This new legislation will add to the growing momentum around the world to address the welfare of live animals subjected to long and unnecessary journeys. Australia has recently committed to end the export of sheep by 1st May 2028 and, last year, a Brazilian court banned the export of live cattle from the country’s ports. We will continue to work in the EU to bring about a ban of this cruel trade there and in Northern Ireland.

A day to celebrate

It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of so many people, that British animals will be spared long gruelling journeys across Europe and beyond. Together, we’ve Banned Live Exports!


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