We demand an end for cruel live transports by road and sea

Live Exports by Road

Live exports by road to non-EU countries

The European Union is overproducing animals. In order to get rid of this overproduction, the member states are exporting more than three million live animals, especially sheep and cattle, to non-EU countries every year.

There is a great demand for live animals used for milk or meat production in Turkey, the Middle East, Israel, Russia and the Asian successor states of the former Soviet Union.

For most animals that are sent abroad, this involves days and weeks of transportation in trucks. The conditions during these transports are often catastrophic. Even pregnant cattle are being transported over distances of 7,000 kilometres to Central Asia.

Problems of exports by road
to non-EU countries

The last official control of the animals takes place at the external border of the EU. Afterwards, the animals often remain on the trucks for several days. There is no reliable feedback about the wellbeing of the animals in the part of the journey taking place outside of Europe. 

The main reasons against day long transports of live animals to non-EU countries are:

  • The poor implementation of (EC) No 1/2005: insufficient access to food and water; risk of injury; not enough space inside the transport vehicles; etc.
  • The situation of the animals cannot be influenced or monitored within the third country: e.g. waiting times of the trucks at the border, lack of unloading and supply options.
  • There is a lack of animal welfare requirements in non-EU countries.   

What we are doing

Since 2010, our team has investigated how the EU regulation (EC) No 1/2005 is being ignored by exporters and transport companies. Our team has spent a total of 139 days in the past ten years investigating and documenting the suffering of the animals at the Bulgarian-Turkish border alone.  

We have submitted several complaints against the EU and 13 member states about the blatant violations against EU law. Our cases are supported by the international law firm Conte & Giacomini Avvocati, which specialises in EU law.

We present the results of our investigation work to decision makers in ministries, authorities and politics and demanding them to act. Successes of our work include that

  • several member states are now banning live exports during the hot summer months
  • our reports are being included in the investigation report of the EU Agriculture Committee, which calls for an improvement of regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and more stringent monitoring of the animals. In February 2019, the European Parliament approved the investigation report and therefore gave the EU Commission a clear mandate to act.  

We reject the export of live animals to third countries and demand a limitation of the transport duration for live transports.

Together with our umbrella organisation, the Eurogroup for Animals, we will continue to pressure politicians in order to achieve improvements for the animals.

How you can get involved 

Support our teams with your donation: 
Donate kilometres for our investigations

Stay informed about our work: 
Sign up for our newsletter

Further Information

Fact Sheet: 
Long-distance transports

Dossier: The Doomed Journey 
The Failure of the Industry, MS and EU to Protect Animals en Route to Turkey

Resolution of the European Parliament: 
Protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU

Regulation on animal transports: 
Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport

Investigations