On the 14th May 2024, the Bill to ban live exports from and through Britain passed its final stage in the UK Parliament.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill will now be enshrined into law, meaning the export of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses for slaughter and fattening from Great Britain will become illegal. 

Read more

What are the welfare issues with live exports?

Live transport of cattle

The long-distance transport of live animals to Europe is a serious animal welfare problem. In 2018, around 5,728 calves were sent from Scotland for fattening to Spain, while 4,587 sheep were exported to Ireland for slaughter. In 2019, 2,082 calves discarded by the dairy industry were exported to Spain for ‘fattening’ on journeys lasting up to 135 hours.

Long journeys

There is no maximum duration of journey limit, which means that journeys may be excessively long. Scientific and veterinary evidence shows that long journeys impose stress on animals, especially when they are young.

Cramped & inadequate conditions

Animals are crammed into vehicles so tightly, that many become injured or may even be trampled to death.


Sheep transport

With animals crammed into vehicles during summer months, it is no surprise that heat stress is one of the most common welfare issues onboard live export ships.

Starvation & dehydration

Animals may be in transit for days without adequate access to food and water.


Animals are transported all year round, in very hot and freezing temperatures and so disease is rife. Unweaned calves are particularly susceptible to infection and illness, as like human infants, their immune systems and undeveloped.


With long journey durations and large numbers of animals aboard live export ships, the live export trade has been the subject of large-scale disasters. For example, last year a live export ship travelling from Romania to Saudi Arabia capsized, resulting in the deaths of more than 14,000 sheep.

Media coverage highlights

Recent media coverage of our campaign to ban live exports include features on BBC's Reporting Scotland and an article in The Times

"We are alarmed to learn that these animals were subjected to longer journeys to mainland Europe,” said Bob Elliot, director of OneKind, a Scottish charity campaigning against cruelty to animals.

M.Macaskill, ''Cruelty' of long haul for sheep transported from Scotland to France via Ireland'The Sunday Times, 17 January 2021

Our progress to ban live exports

We long-campaigned for a live exports ban across Britian.


Our recent highlights include:

  • More than 6,250 people signing our 2021 petition to the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government and the Welsh Government to deliver a ban across the whole of Great Britain at the same time, and as soon as possible.  
  • Releasing the 2021 report “Emotional beings- Why farmed animal welfare matters in a Good Food Nation”.
  • Responding to the UK Government’s consultation on improvements to animal welfare during transport.
  • 5,072 of our supporters writing to former Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing urging him to stop opposing a UK-wide ban on the live export of animals for slaughter or fattening.  
  • Supporting Compassion in World Farming’s judicial review of the Scottish Government’s decision to export weeks old calves. Following the legal proceedings, the Scottish Government ceased to export live calves.
  • Taking part in the #BanLiveExports Day ‘Twitterstorm’ each year with international animal welfare organisations from around 30 countries. In 2020, 3,100 people tweeted the Scottish Government about it’s failure to protect animals from the live export trade.