We all know meat trade composes a significant part of external commerce. But if the slaughter of animals for human consumption is cruel anywhere of the world, it can be even worse when you are forced to cross oceans alive, in terrible sanitary conditions and with no comfort. This is the case of millions of animals every year, specially cows and sheeps.
Animal protectors and NGOs are terrified about the impacts this activity has on animals and the environment. Live exports are considered one of the cruelest activities related to animal production, and therefore should be banned. We'll show you why.
1. Animals spend days and even weeks traveling
Usually, animals that are transported are only babies or teenagers. They are born and, after reaching a certain age, their journey will begin. First, they are transported by trucks from the farms where they were born until the ports, and then from the ports they go aboard vessels to follow a trip that can take days and even weeks. It only gets worse when we consider the conditions they endure during this whole period.
2. Sanitary and welfare conditions are terrible
Basically, there are virtually no sanitary or welfare precautions. The trucks or vessels are so crowded with animals that they can't walk or lay, and when they try to do it there's a risk they'll end up trampled and dead. These ships and trucks are usually open or, in the parts where they are closed, there's no temperature control system, which leave animals exposed to extreme temperatures and climate conditions such as intense cold, winds, wet by the rain or the seawater, or burnt by the sun exposition.
Animals defecate in there and, because of the number of individuals and the rare cleaning, they end up wrapped up in feces and excrements. Food ends up dirty as well, water is scarce and when it's available, the access to it is hampered by the cows on the way. Because of the ordure, the ammonia smell is unbearable, which makes it hard to breathe.
The NGO Animals' Australia has been fighting for the end of animal export for a long time. This video of one of their investigations on board of a vessel shows why:
3. Many animals die on the way, others are born
Many animals suffer from injuries and diseases and die before arriving at the destination, without receiving proper veterinary care, and are left in their pens to rot or thrown in the sea. Some vessels even have a grounder where they throw animals, and there are reports of animals being thrown in there and to the sea while still agonizing.
Unfortunately, since there's no control about the animal's pregnancies, investigations have even shown animals being born in these awful conditions.
4. Simply put, it's dangerous
Recently, there was a case of a cargo ship that capsized with 14,000 live sheep off the coast of Romania. In Brazil, a vessel carrying 5 thousand cows sank close to the Port of Barbacena, in Pará, north of the country. A sad video showed the desperation of the animals trying to escape the ship and swim until the shore, many drowned and the ones that managed to arrive there were killed and consumed by the population
5. Countries can't assure with which techniques they will be slaughtered
Have you ever stopped to think about WHY producers would want to export live animals? The answer is usually because they want to control how these animals will be killed, to make sure the slaughter will follow some religious precepts. Therefore, it's not possible to assure the countries where animals will be slaughtered require compliance to even the most basic welfare standards, such as stunning the animals before cutting their throats.
6. There are huge environmental impacts
Can you imagine the amount of manure a cow generates each day? Multiply this amount by the number of animals inside a vessel and by the number of days the trip will last. Now imagine that, if people clean the place, which would be important for animals, they'll dump the excrements directly at the sea.
In February of 2018, a scandal broke in the Port of Santos, the biggest in Brazil. Federal Justice forbid live export from all the ports of the country after a veterinary report about the conditions of the animals inside the vessel Nada, that was supposed to go to Turkey with 25 thousand cows, came to surface. “Waste accumulated by the cleaning process has its content discarded, without any treatment, at sea”, said the report.
During the road trip until the port, it's usually possible to see a trail of manure coming from the trucks. Minerva, the company responsible for the export in the same case, was fined by the Environment Secretary with the equivalent to US$360,000 for irregularities in the transportation of the animals and, then, more US$ 500,000 because of the smell of feces that impregnated the city of Santos.
Not to mention the footprint of the animal farming in general. Livestock is responsible for the emission of more greenhouse gases than the whole transport of the world combined! In 2016, only three of the biggest meat companies in the world — JBS, Cargill e Tyson — were accountable for more greenhouse gases emissions than France. The five biggest are responsible for more pollutants than the main oil companies, like Exxon, Shell and BP.
Help us end animal cruelty! Sign Animals Australia's petition here and please, ditch animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs to stop all types of cruelty against animals.