The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill is starting its long-awaited journey through Parliament

After decades of campaigning, thousands of protests, and animals suffering in their millions, it’s finally happening 

12.12.2023

The cruel and unnecessary live export of animals from the UK is a big step nearer to being banned.  

This has been a move that is long overdue and far too many animals have endured suffering and misery while it continued. In the mid-1990s, millions of animals were shipped to Europe each year for slaughter or fattening.1 Many people first became animal welfare campaigners after seeing the horrific TV images of small, scared calves being shipped to France in cramped containers. No food, no water, and enduring journeys averaging 100 hours (about 4 days).  

A young black and white calf

The protests and demonstrations grew quickly, and larger ports, surprised at the scale of opposition, began to turn the trade away.  Operators were forced to switch to smaller ports like Shoreham and Brightlingsea, scene of the infamous Battle of Brightlingsea live export protests, where in 1996, 79-year-old Tilly Merritt was arrested by police after spraying a Police Constable with her garden hose.   

Even as recently as 2016, nearly 400,000 sheep, 10,000 cattle and 9,000 pigs were exported to Europe specifically for slaughter.2 The Government's own figures show the average journey time for sheep going to France from the UK was more than 26 hours. For calves being transported to Spain, it was more than 96 hours (about 4 days) from start to finish.

That is why this ban is so important. The numbers involved, the suffering endured and the outrage of so many people about its cruelty mean it must pass into law. Regardless of your views on Brexit, leaving the EU has meant that we can now act on live exports when we couldn’t before. We’ve taken back control for the animals and now we need to stop talking about it and start doing it.  

The Bill to ban live exports has now been tabled in Parliament and we shall stop at nothing to see its safe passage through to becoming law.  

We need your voice to help with this. Your MPs vote at the Second Reading debate will send a strong message to the Government about support for the Bill, and the need for it to be prioritised in the parliamentary timetable.   

With a general election likely in 2024, we want the Bill sped through to the statute book without delay. Strength in numbers at its Second Reading will concentrate minds. Our message is simple -  #BanLiveExports and end the suffering of thousands of animals.   

URGE YOUR MP TO SUPPORT THE LIVE EXPORTS BILL

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Simon Pope

Campaigns Lead UK

simon.pope@four-paws.org

Simon works in the Campaigns Team at FOUR PAWS UK. He has a background in Campaign Communications across the charity sector. Simon is passionate about animal welfare and utilises his years of knowledge and experience to bring about change.

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