Just days after Mercy For Animals released a live-export investigation, a ship carrying over 14,000 sheep from Romania to Saudi Arabia capsized, most of the animals becoming trapped inside as it started to sink. Footage released by Animals International shows the bodies of dead sheep floating in the water. Rescue attempts resumed after activists on the scene reported hearing signs of life coming from inside the ship. In the end, fewer than 300 sheep were saved.
Live export has long been under fire around the world for its immense cruelty. Every year, hundreds of thousands of animals are crammed onto ships and transported from farms to slaughterhouses in faraway countries. In addition to the stress of the unfamiliar environment, noise, and constant motion of the ship, animals are forced to endure weeks of crowded conditions, lying in their own excrement. Peter Stevenson from Compassion in World Farming said in a statement to the Guardian:
Following the latest disaster as a vessel with 14,000 sheep overturns, we urge the EU to ban live exports to non-EU countries. This cruel trade breaches article 13 of [the Lisbon] treaty which recognises animals as sentient beings.
Mercy For Animals recently released undercover footage showing the true horrors of live export. After an exhausting, stressful journey on an overcrowded ship, injured and sick animals are dragged and craned by their legs. In one clip, a steer swings high in the air by a single leg, suffering unimaginable pain and fear.
Once off the ship in the Middle East, the animals are taken to a slaughterhouse, where they are slashed in the legs, gashed at the throat, and left to bleed to death, all while still conscious and able to feel pain.
Although the live-export trade is growing—with the value of European exports rising from $1 billion in 2000 to $3.3 billion last year—countries like New Zealand and India have banned it. In Brazil, Mercy For Animals is calling on the government to pass federal bill 357/2018, which would prohibit the export of live animals for slaughter.
Live export causes tremendous suffering, and it needs to end now. You can help by going to ExportMisery.com and joining Mercy For Animals in urging the Brazilian government to pass federal bill 357/2018.
Cover photo credit: Animals International / amateur sources