We changed the law! The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Act 2024 is a victory for farmed animals

Success! Farmed animals in Great Britain can no longer be exported overseas for slaughter or fattening


Across the globe, millions of animals are exported for slaughter and fattening every year. These animals often suffer for days or weeks on the road and at sea, exposed to extreme weather, with a lack of adequate food, water and veterinary care. These cramped conditions can cause extreme psychological and physical harm, with many dying before reaching their final destination. 

For many years, FOUR PAWS UK has been calling on the UK Government to ban live exports of farmed animals, and we are thrilled to announce that the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill has finally been signed into law! This Act will ensure that farmed animals from Great Britain will no longer undergo these horrific journeys.

With your help, here’s how we finally made it happen: 

Cows on a transportation ship

At this time, tens of thousands of farmed animals are exported each year from the UK. They endure journeys of hundreds or thousands of miles, causing mental exhaustion, physical injuries, hunger, dehydration and extreme stress. On arrival, they are to be slaughtered or kept in inhumane conditions while being fattened.

We responded to a Government consultation on live animal export, and gave our expert opinion on how these unnecessary, long journeys affect farmed animal welfare and why livestock exports should be banned. 

Two lambs and a sheep grazing in a paddock

FOUR PAWS provided a new home for the 180 sheep that survived a capsized ship in Romania. Over 14,000 sheep died on the vessel that was headed from Romania to Saudi Arabia.

Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare

In May 2021, the Government commits to banning the live export of farmed animals for fattening and slaughter in their Action Plan for Animal Welfare 

We responded to further consultations on live animal transport enquiries from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee in addition to the devolved Scottish Government. 

By June, The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is introduced to the House of Commons. Part of this Bill was intended o make provisions which would prohibit the export of farmed animals from Great Britain for fattening and slaughter. 


After stalling the Kept Animals Bill for almost two years, we demonstrate outside Downing Street and tell Rishi Sunak to stop hanging animals out to dry and return the Kept Animals Bill to Parliament. 

Devastatingly, after 500 days in limbo, the Government dropped the Kept Animals Bill, breaking their own promises to protect farmed animals Instead, the Government said they would take forward the issues outlined in the Kept Animals Bill as single-issue Bills. 

Multiple sheep all in a holding pen

Thankfully, the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill is introduced to the House of Commons in December, and has its First and Second Readings in the House of Commons. 


In January 2024, the Bill completes its House of Commons Committee Stage, Report Stage and Third Reading on the same day, and moves across to the House of Lords for its First Reading. 

At the beginning of January, 15,000 animals were trapped onboard an Australian live export ship headed to Jordan due to geo-political turmoil in the Middle East. The sheep and cattle were stuck on the vessel for several weeks before being sent back to Australia after it was deemed at-risk of attack. In March, it was decided that these animals, who have already suffered unimaginably onboard, are to be re-exported to Jordan from Australia 
This story is just one of many that shows why live exports must be banned once and for all. 

The Bill has its Second Reading in the House of Lords in February, and Committee Stage in March.

The Bill has its Second Reading in the House of Lords in February, Committee Stage in March and Report Stage and Third Reading in May. It then went back to the House of Commons for its Consideration of Amendments.

Monday 20 May - The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill has completed all Parliamentary stages, and is now called the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Act 2024. This now means that farmed animals from Great Britain will no longer endure the lengthy, horrific journeys for fattening and slaughter as they once did. 

Thank you!

This success comes after many years of campaigning on this important issue, and thanks to the help and passion of our supporters, we have been able to change the law and protect farmed animals!  

Thank you for your continued support and all that you do for animals.

Support our vital campaign work with a gift today

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Animal Charity - Daisy

Daisy Sopel

Junior Campaigner

Daisy works in the Campaigns Team at FOUR PAWS UK, supporting her colleagues in the delivery of our wild, farm and companion animal campaigns. She has a background in animal behaviour and welfare and has almost a decade’s worth of experience working with sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centres.

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