Live Animal Export: The global trade is dying

Dr Lynn Simpson reports on the pullback from live animal exports seen across the world in recent months.

Too many animals have died at sea during ‘live’ export; no sane person could dispute that.

Now the global trade is on a terminal trajectory.

We live in a more enlightened time. As such we are witnessing the well overdue demise of the barbaric trade of transporting mass numbers of animals by sea.

Whilst some are trying to provide it with palliative care, the writing is on the wall. Political, legal and public pressure will ensure its demise.

The cause of death will be multi-faceted. Environmental pollution, poor seafarer welfare, lack of sustainability, poor commercial viability, and replacement with meat exports all major players.

Ethics, moral compass and, of course, the worldwide disdain for the cruelty this trade has inflicted on tens of millions of animals are the clinchers.


In July this year the Israeli knesset (parliament) and even Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara, called openly for a ban on the trade. The knesset has a bill that calls for an immediate 25% reduction in the live imports of cattle and sheep from last year. Followed by 25% annual reduction that will see the import of live animals totally banned in three years. Import taxes on meat will be reduced to incentivise the expansion of importing chilled meat instead of making live animals suffer a voyage. The Israelis have been extremely vocal and are only growing in volume of resistance to live imports.


Yesterday’s amazing surprise was India. Due to public protests India has declared an indefinite blanket ban of live animals from all seaports. India is a country with a strong meat export trade and clearly a moral compass that Ggovernments such as Australia could learn from.


Brazil has seen an explosive public, legal and political movement against the live export trade since an awareness campaign began late last year. This has seen judges impose very heavy fines on live export ships for environmental pollution and raised animal welfare concerns to an unprecedented level, never seen before in Latin America. Brazil is another country with a strong meat export trade to consider.


Brazil’s neighbour, Uruguay has seen an equally explosive level of political, legal and public awareness and resistance to the live export trade from their port of Montevideo in recent months. Uruguay has approximately four cattle to every human in the country, hence is another meat trade reliant country with a strong meat export industry.


The news out of Europe has been difficult to track due to the immense volume of legal, political and public awareness of the unnecessary cruelty of live export, be it by land or sea. Most recently by activists, concerned members of the public and prominent animal welfare photographers like Jo-Ann McArthur, exposing horrific conditions as Europe swelters in an unusually hot summer.


The Australian public are seeing directly that when new, more humane stocking densities (30% reduction) for sheep are applied to the trade exporters have abandoned the country complaining that they can no longer be commercially viable unless the ships are crammed to a level of animal cruelty that is unacceptable. Our political opposition party, Labor, has promised to phase out the trade if elected in upcoming elections. Fingers crossed they are true to their word because they are gaining prospective voters everyday on this basis whilst many of our public are rapidly losing faith in our current government and its attitude towards live exports.

These live exporting countries all have unemployment issues in common that could, should and will be reduced with the global banning of live exports for slaughter.

Being the world’s oldest fleet of ships (140 in total) means they are likely to be culled heavily with the new IMO sulphur cap regulations to be implemented from January 1 2020. Bring it on!

Less carrying capacity for live animals, greater need for animal producers to diversify and convert their business model to not have to rely on the cruelty of live exports.

Trying to save this trade is like giving a dead cow antibiotics and expecting it to make a full recovery.

Too little, too late.


For Lynn Simpson’s full archive of shocking exposés into the livestock trades, click here.


Splash is Asia Shipping Media’s flagship title offering timely, informed and global news from the maritime industry 24/7.


  1. Dr. Lynn Simpson should be nominated for a Nobel Prize for her courageous expose of the live animals export trade, which is cruel to the animals that it carries, cruel to the exploited seafarers which it employs, and cruel to the environment through its use of “end of life” ships with polluting engines. She is an example to us all!

  2. Good to see Lyn’s global update on attitudes and developments in bringing the live export trade to a halt. There is simply no longer any need as all religous requirements can be met during value-add processing in the country of origin. Maintaining the pressure to get more politicians on side and force through corrective legislation is essential. Does anyone know if the Cadet whistleblower in the Emmanuel Exports case has been able to get another job? Or is he still paying the price?

    1. Dear Robert,
      Thanks for your comment, I agree, political assistance and legislative changes from any angle are what is required to ensure this trade becomes an historical embarassment everyone will want to deny was ever thought acceptable.
      As for Fazal, the Cadet from the 60 minutes exposé there is good news.
      From what I know he has had multiple opportunities with other sectors of the shipping community and by all reports is back at sea doing well. This of course is great for him, and also allows the shipping society to hold its head up high and know we have reputable operators out there whom are not afraid to have an intelligent, diligent, ethical and moral, truth teller in their ranks.
      Fazal’s actions have been monumental in world wide education, attitudes and action regarding the live export trade and its dirty secrets.
      Lynn Simpson

  3. Good, ban import or export of live animals and also meat. Requested to please use agriculture produce:fruits, vegetables, fresh food. It helps environment, human body and mind also. Thanks a lot to all readers & wishing healthy life.L

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