What are we doing about livestock transportation?

We believe all animals should be slaughtered close to the point of production. For many years we've been calling for the replacement of long-distance transportation of livestock for slaughter with a 'carcass only' trade.

We believe the frequency and duration of all live animal transport, whether for slaughter, further fattening or breeding, should be minimised and that conditions during travel should be as good as possible, with animal welfare looked after by properly trained, caring staff.

Calves on transport lorry © RSPCA Photolibrary


Leaving the EU provides the UK with a unique opportunity to change the way it transports its livestock and to stop live exports of animals to outside the UK. The RSPCA is disappointed that the recent report to the UK's Governments from its scientific advisors whilst recommending reduced journey times for animals such as calves, horses and cattle did not recommend measures that would stop the live export of animals. The RSPCA will be asking Defra to go further and put in place measures that would effectively end the live export of animals outside the UK. We will be taking this call to action to the government in the coming months.

Developing welfare standards for farm animals

We are able to improve the lives of millions of farm animals each year using our welfare standards for farm animals. The standards have been developed for nine of the most commonly farmed animals in the UK and include hundreds of requirements, based on scientific evidence and practical experience, to ensure higher standards of welfare for all animals reared, transported and slaughtered/killed accordingly.

The standards include requirements on transport, covering areas such as maximum permitted journey times, training of staff, humane handling of animals during loading and unloading, and adequate space provision during journeys.

Engaging with decision makers

We take every opportunity to put forward our views to governments and other key decision makers (both EU and UK) to encourage improvements. For example, we gave both oral and written evidence to the enquiry into live transport and live exports of animals which recently published its report.

Live transport of male dairy calves

Further information about how we're working to solve this welfare problem is available on our dairy cattle pages.

If you share our concerns, you may like to know more about how you can help.

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