04. October 2022

Why is the EU working against science when it comes to live exports via sea?

EU cattle being loaded onto a livestock carrier via raceways.

The facts by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are on the table. When transported via sea, there are more animal welfare risks for all species than when transported via truck. And yet, the EU Commission is not ready to ban these cruel transports across the Mediterranean. How can that be possible?

EFSA is responsible for providing scientific advice to the EU on risks along the food chain. This also includes live transports. Since 2015, our investigative teams have been documenting the animal suffering on the sea routes. EFSA requested this information from us for their investigations. Additionally, the EU Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transport (ANIT) commissioned a study with us focusing on exports by sea. Apart from our research and isolated studies there is, however, a lack of further data. Science itself does not know what the real consequences are when it comes to animal welfare and exports by sea. As soon as the animals leave the EU ports, there are no more official controls. There is no reliable feedback from the importing countries. No one knows how many animals arrive sick, injured or dead at the point of destination outside the EU. And yet, the trade with live animals on the Mediterranean continues unhindered. If the EU took its own science seriously, it would have to immediately ban live exports via sea due to a lack of information and well-known animal welfare risks. But the Commission is not ready for such a big step. So far, the motto has been: profit before animal welfare. At all costs.

From our long-term research since 2015, we have known for a long time: stopping exports is the only solution.

Publications on transport by EFSA

Study commissioned by the EU Committee of Inquiry into Animal Transport (ANIT)