EU Responsible for 80% of Live Animal Trade Amidst Cruelty Concerns

EU Responsible for 80% of Live Animal Trade Amidst Cruelty Concerns

Animals are often exposed to thirst, hunger, injury and exhaustion in their export journeys worldwide - Image Source: Wikimedia

RECENTLY RELEASED data has revealed that 80% of the world’s live animal exports come from the European Union, amidst allegations that cruelty and suffering are endemic in the multi-billion euro industry.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), over 1.8 billion chickens, pigs, cattle, goats, and sheep were sold across an international border in 2019. It is estimated that up to 80% of these exports originated in the European Union, with many calling for greater regulation to protect against animal cruelty.

The FAO says that animals are often exposed to thirst, hunger, exhaustion, and injury during their journeys across the world – as well as risking mistreatment in their destinations. The global live animal trade is worth 16.45 billion euro, a figure that has grown four-fold over the last five decades.

The UK government is considering imposing an export ban on English and Welsh livestock overseas unless they are to be sold for breeding purposes. Activists have called on the EU to impose greater regulation on the lucrative industry to safeguard the welfare of animals.

One of the main reasons the bloc is such a successful exporter is that many member states specialise in certain species – for example Denmark is famous for its pig exports and Germany for its chickens. Meanwhile, comparatively inexpensive countries like Romania can export sheep and other animals to the Middle East at low prices for buyers.

The EU has said they are working with international animal rights bodies to improve the regulation of the industry.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...