Carry on campaigning: Keeping up the pressure to End Live Exports

Carry on campaigning: Keeping up the pressure to End Live Exports

Today we mark Ban Live Exports: International Awareness Day - a day when we reflect on decades of campaigning to end this needless trade and to set out the next steps to end the suffering of tens of thousands of sheep and calves.

Here at the RSPCA, we've worked tirelessly for many years to bring about an end to the export of farm animals for slaughter or further fattening. We engage directly with farmers and retailers to raise animal welfare standards and support solutions to create domestic markets and we take every opportunity to put forward our views to governments and other key decision-makers.

From holding public meetings, responding to Government Consultations and meeting with Defra Ministers to organising demos and supporting the #StopTheTrucks petition, (which has generated over a million signatures) - we continue to be a strong voice for the animals. In fact, it was a report on the port facilities from the RSPCA in 2012 which prompted the local council in Ramsgate to temporarily close the port to the trade...

Achieving change takes time

  • In the last 12 months, we can draw hope from the new laws in England that:
  • Ban the use of wild animals in circuses
  • Prohibit the third party sale of puppies
  • As well as the Agriculture Bill that recognises farm animal welfare as a public good.

Through increasing public concern, using animal welfare science and putting continued pressure on the Governments in the UK, together we're keeping this issue on the agenda. This International Awareness Day is another milestone for this important campaign, and we're calling on you to join our action to Tweet Defra:

This #BanLiveExports International Awareness Day, I call on @DefraGovUK to stop the needless trade of thousands of sheep and calves. This suffering must stop! #EndLiveExports.

What's next in the campaign to end live exports

We continue to campaign for stronger legislation that will further protect the welfare of farm animals. The Agriculture Bill and the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill provides opportunities to strengthen legislation that impacts farming standards.

A Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) report published in April this year recommended stopping the export of our animals to countries with lower welfare standards than our own. We will continue to call on Defra to implement these recommendations into legislation.  

Our friends at Compassion in World Farming have launched a judicial review against the export of unweaned calves, which will go before the Scottish Courts in August. This Review claims that journeys for unweaned calves are unlawful as the legal requirements for feeding during journeys of over 8 hours are not being met.

The most recent live export sailing from the Port of Ramsgate was 13th March, when three lorries of sheep set sail for Calais and then onto an unknown destination. Going forward, we will continue to be the eyes for the animals, with our inspectors being present at sailings from the Port and having the ability to raise any animal health and welfare concerns with Animal Health Officials.

Our campaign to only export carcasses and not live animals has been hugely successful, with live animal exports down from nearly two million twenty years ago, to tens of thousands now. However, each farm animal that is exported for slaughter from our shores is one too many and we would still like to see a total ban of any live animal exports when our own domestic legislation is developed.

Find out more about live exports.

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