Compassion in World Farming believes that the export of live animals to non-EU countries must be prohibited as these long journeys entail immense suffering for the animals involved and in many cases they endure painful, terrifying treatment at slaughter in the destination countries where the OIE international standards on welfare at slaughter are routinely ignored. We agree with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe that “Animals should be reared as close as possible to the premises on which they are born and slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production.” Accordingly, in addition to a ban on live exports to non-EU countries, we call for an eight hour limit to be placed on transport within the EU for fattening or slaughter. Until these reforms are adopted, we believe that much better implementation of EU legislation on welfare during transport must be achieved.

REPORT: Animal transport – Law Enforcement Failures


For over thirty years enforcement of EU law on the protection of animals has been poor. The main breaches of EU law that are regularly observed include:

  • The transport of unfit animals
  • Stocking densities often exceed the maximum densities permitted by Regulation 1/2005
  • Animals are frequently given too little headroom
  • The Regulation’s maximum permitted temperature is often exceeded
  • The Regulation’s requirements on feed and water are frequently breached. In some cases water tanks are empty or the drinking devices do not work or they are the wrong type for the species being carried or are positioned in such a way that the animals cannot reach them
  • The Regulation’s requirements on the provision of rest are often ignored
  • In some cases insufficient bedding is provided; in other cases it becomes filthy in the later stages of the journey
  • The transport of unweaned animals on journeys over 8 hours without animals being fed.

EU Animal Transport Facts

Millions of live animals are transported thousands of kilometres every year.

The ugly truth:

  • Excessively long journeys without sufficient food, water or rest.
  • Sick, injured, very young and heavily pregnant animals
  • Ill-equipped and overcrowded vehicles
  • Some are exported from countries with animal protection laws to those that have none, facing terrible abuse both during transport and at the time of slaughter.


Animals are crammed into vehicles.

Overcrowding means that some cannot lie down at all, while those who do may be injured or trampled to death. Others endure long journeys with legs trapped and injured, or painfully stooped under insufficient headroom.

Exhaustion & Dehydration

Animals can be in transit for days

They suffer extremes of temperature and often without sufficient food, water or rest. Many die.

Pain, Stress & Disease

Animals are sentient beings and feel pain and stress just like we do.

Animals are transported in both blistering heat and freezing conditions, some injured, those around them panicked. Water may not be provided throughout these long horrifying journeys.

Animals’ immune systems are often reduced as a result of the destitution of long distance transport, resulting in diseases spreading rapidly.

Inhumane Slaughter

Animals are shipped alive, only to be slaughtered at journey’s end, using inhumane methods.

When animals are exported from Europe to countries outside the EU they leave behind them all the legal protection they once received, facing terrible abuse both during transport and at the time of slaughter.