UK: Live Animal Exports – Overview Of The Current Situation.

Live Animal Transport

Photo – Mark WAV

WAV Comment –

The UK government has recently (since Brexit and leaving the EU) undertaken a consultation on live animal transport which has been open to the British public and any for / against (live export) organisations wishing to submit comments on the subject of all categories associated with live animal transport (exports).  We at WAV took a lot of time (several weeks) with precise submissions and evidence to argue our case on why we considered that long distance live animal transport is unnecessary and should be banned – or at the very most be a one off transport time of 8 hours maximum; which would basically stop all exports from the UK to mainland Europe. 

Here is just one short clip of the response start:

Q1: Do you agree that livestock and horse export journeys for slaughter and fattening are unnecessary?

87% of respondents agreed that livestock and horse export journeys for slaughter and fattening are unnecessary. 11%4 disagreed and 2% did not express a definitive opinion. The majority of respondents who agreed that such journeys are unnecessary were members of the general public and animal welfare groups. The main reason respondents gave for agreeing was that they were concerned about welfare standards during the transportation of live animals. Many individual respondents and animal welfare organisations stated that live exports were cruel and degrading to the animals involved.

Great to see such a high figure of 87% of the British people and organisations basically agreed that live animal exports were unnecessary.

The full document which details the summary of responses to every section of the consultation:

Document title – UK Government:  Improvements to animal welfare in transport Summary of responses and government response Date: August 2021

Click on the following to review the document:

Improvements to animal welfare in transport: summary of responses and government response (

In this document – an Introduction by the UK government:

The welfare of all animals, including in transport, is a real priority for both the UK Government and the Welsh Government. The UK Government has a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening, which we are taking forward through our Kept Animals Bill.

Now we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to look at alternative methods to better protect animal welfare during transport. The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC, now known as the Animal Welfare Committee) report in 2019 identified several aspects of transport that have a detrimental effect on animal welfare. They made a series of recommendations to the current regulations on animal welfare during transport. A Welsh Government response to this paper was published in 2020.

Following the findings in this report, we have looked at improvements to animal welfare in transport, including maximum journey times, thermal conditions and ventilation, space and headroom allowances and sea transport.

We have received a wide range of views to our consultation. We have listened to those views, and will continue to work with industry, NGOs and others to identify priorities where the evidence is clear and in other cases to explore some of the issues and evidence together in more detail. I want us to work together to develop practical solutions that generate the good welfare outcomes we all want to see.

This is a big step, but where the evidence is clear we must act. We want to work with industry to co-design solutions to achieve high welfare outcomes and help them make this transition.

The Rt Hon George Eustice MP Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Lesley Griffiths MS Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd

As a result of the consultation, the following statement was issued by the UK government:

Live animal exports

Having considered the evidence available, including responses to this consultation, the government confirms it will proceed with a ban on the export of livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) and horses from England, Wales and Scotland for slaughter and fattening. Exports for slaughter and fattening from England, Wales and Scotland will be prohibited whether the animals originate from or are travelling through England, Wales and Scotland.

For the purposes of this consultation, exports for fattening were defined as exports where the animal is to be slaughtered within 6 months of arrival. A large proportion of respondents were critical of the proposed definition and considered a time limit to be unenforceable. Having taken account of this feedback, we propose to remove the reference to a 6-month time limit so that the prohibition will apply to all exports of livestock and horses where an animal is exported to the place of destination in order to be fattened for subsequent slaughter.

To further support our (WAV) welfare organisations call for a complete ban on live animal exports; I have decided to include here for you a series of undercover videos which were undertaken in years prior to the consultation relating to live export issues around Europe.  I have included journey routes, times and animal species.  So here we go:

CIWF live export investigations.

Below are undercover investigations undertaken by CIWF (London).

Video links for each are given; but if you wish to read additional information about the investigations, then head to:

Our investigations into live animal transport | Compassion in World Farming (

  • UK to continental Europe – Trucking Hell.

Journey route: Southern Scotland to France and beyond

Animals transported: Calves

  • Journey route: Eastern Europe to Israel

Estimated distance: 2,500 miles

Estimated time: 7 days

Animals transported: Calves

  • Journey route: Northern England to Western France

Estimated distance: 630 miles

Estimated time: 18 hours

Animals transported: Sheep

  • Journey route: Southern England to Southern Germany

Estimated distance: 590 miles

Estimated time: 23 hours

Animals transported: Sheep

  • Journey route: West of England to Northern Spain

Estimated distance: 1,100 miles

Estimated time: 60 hours

Animals transported: Calves

  • Journey route: Hungary & Slovakia to Turkey and Latvia to Iraq

Estimated distance: 3,000 miles

Estimated time: up to 13 days

Animals transported: Bulls – click ‘watch on YouTube’ to view.

  • Journey route: EU to Turkey

Animals transported: Sheep and cattle

  • Journey route: Poland to Italy & the Netherlands

Estimated distance: over 1,000 miles

Estimated time: over 24 hours

Animals transported: Calves

Additional – For more and info on the international live export awareness day on 14/6/22 please click on  Ban Live Exports | Compassion in World Farming (  or go to

Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day | Compassion in World Farming (

Regards Mark

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