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BREAKING NEWS: UK Live Exports Ban Is Now Law

After 50 years of relentless campaigning, the historic ban on exporting live animals is now law.
21/05/2024

On Monday 20th May 2024, the Bill to ban the export of live animals from the United Kingdom to countries overseas received royal assent and officially became law. Millions of farmed animals including cows, sheep, pigs will no longer have to face miserable journeys, enduring hunger, dehydration, injuries, exhaustion and mental anguish while being taken to their death.

Animal Equality has been supporting this campaign for years, led by our friends at Compassion in World Farming and Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE). Our team has attended peaceful demos outside Parliament, written opinion pieces in publications like the Ecologist, and has engaged with MPs on the issue. It’s been a hard fought victory, taking over 50 years to get this ban over the line and tragically activists have even lost their lives along the way.

One such fearless activist was Jill Phipps, who met her untimely end after being crushed under the wheels of a calf transporter at Baginton airport in Coventry. Her tragic passing, at the age of 31, serves as a poignant reminder of the human sacrifices made in the fight for animal liberation. Her unwavering determination inspired many on the journey to this victory, leaving an impact that will not be forgotten.

The overwhelming majority supports the ban

After five decades of protests against the live export of animals, the Bill was finally introduced to Parliament in December 2023. With 87% of respondents in favour of the ban at an initial Government consultation, the Bill then followed the ordinary legislative procedure before receiving royal assent and becoming law on 20th May 2024. This strong endorsement reflects growing public awareness of animal welfare and rejection of the cruel practices within the animal agriculture industry.

One step forward in the fight

By enacting this law, the UK ban joins a global movement seeking to end the cruelty of live animal exports. Recently, Brazil banned exports of live cows from all the country’s ports, whilst New Zealand banned the export of live cows, sheep, deer and goats by sea for slaughter, fattening and breeding abroad. This shows that the world is continuing to move towards a more compassionate future for animals.

A long road ahead

While the UK ban is an important step, there is still a long road ahead. The new law is expected to face opposition from farmers and some political sectors. It is crucial that animal advocates continue to monitor and lobby to ensure that the ban is implemented effectively and that all animals are protected from cruelty.

Meanwhile, campaigns to end the live export of animals globally must continue. In Spain, Animal Equality is tirelessly working to expose the suffering of animals exported alive outside the European Union. With previously unpublished images from the Animal Welfare Foundation, they successfully secured media coverage, reaching over 33 million viewers, highlighting the plight of animals forced to travel from Spanish ports to the shores of Lebanon. Backed by over 45,000 petition signatures, we are urging the European Commission and the Spanish Government to end such cruelty.

Similarly, Animal Equality in Germany is actively engaged in the cause. Our team recently urged the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture to enact stricter regulations on animal transport within the European Union and enhance the country’s animal welfare laws.

This victory is proof that with resilience, patience, and unwavering dedication, we can and will achieve a world where all animals are respected and protected.


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