More and more countries ban the export of live animals! Party for the Animals continues to increase pressure

3 maio 2023

This month saw the end of the export of live animals by sea from New Zealand. And in Brazil, too, a court ruled last week that live transports can no longer take place from the country's ports. The Party for the Animals in Europe and sister parties worldwide have been working for years to save billions of animals from the terrible long-distance transports in which structural abuses have been demonstrated.

Protest against cruel animal transports in the European Parliament, organized by the Dutch Party for the Animals with sister parties from different countries.

No more sea transports for live animals from New Zealand. The ban, announced in 2021, took full effect this month, after a two-year transition period during which farmers were able to reduce export trade. This is good news for, in particular, young cows, which were often transported to China – a long journey on overcrowded ships, often resulting in injury, exhaustion, and heat stress, and with insufficient access to water and food.

Earlier, New Zealand introduced temporary measures after a ship on its way to China capsized in 2020, resulting in the drowning of 6,000 cows and 43 crew members. But as the Minister of Agriculture stressed, sea transports from New Zealand are always long, and that puts animal welfare at risk anyway. Animal welfare is also the motive behind the recent landmark ruling by a court in Brazil banning live transports by sea. "Animals are not things. They are sentient beings, that is, individuals who can experience hunger, thirst, pain, cold, fear and despair."

Who's next!? The European Union, Australia?

MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Party for the Animals at a protest against live animal transports.

Several studies have shown that gross damage to animal welfare and abuses during live transports are structural. The European parliamentary inquiry that was carried out at the insistence of the Dutch Party for the Animals showed that the rules for animal transports within and from Europe are systematically violated. In recent years, Anja Hazekamp, member of the European Parliament on behalf of the Party for the Animals, has also conducted her own research into animal transport, at the European external borders in Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Bulgaria and Turkey. Among other things, she also monitored the situation on the 'horror ship' the Elbeik in the Spanish port of Cartagena. Time and again, she brought to light serious abuses, which she systematically raised in the European Parliament.

Last month, Anja Hazekamp asked the European Commission urgent questions about the mistreatment of very young calves in the French port of Cherbourg, which was brought to light by animal welfare organizations L214 and Eyes on Animals. The French authorities have now temporarily closed the checkpoint where the abuses were detected. As a result, the number of calves transported via France has been halved for the time being. For Hazekamp, that's just the beginning; she advocates a general ban on sea and long-distance transports of calves up to 12 weeks that are still dependent on mother’s milk. "Numerous checks show that these long-distance transports are by definition associated with serious animal suffering. We must ensure that calves are no longer put on these hellish transports," the MEP said.

Moreover, the Party for the Animals wants all long-distance transports by ship to stop. Not only calves and cows, but millions of sheep are shipped by the thousands for weeks or even months in appalling conditions. "There should be no exception for such horror transports by ship. They need to stop as soon as possible," Hazekamp said.

And Hazekamp is not alone in this. Australia's sister party Animal Justice Party has also been pushing for a total ban on the export of live animals from Australia for years and persuaded the ruling Labour Party to speak out publicly in favour of phasing out the export of live sheep. In a joint letter, parties for the animals from some seventeen other countries worldwide have also called on the European Commission to ban transports that last longer than eight hours and to put an end to the transport of pregnant or unweaned animals.