The 7th annual Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day is kicking off on June 14, 2022, with hopes to raise awareness and inspire regulatory action to improve the lives of millions of animals who suffer every year during grueling, days- and thousands-of-miles long journeys to slaughterhouses.

Every year, millions of animals — from cows, pigs, and sheep to goats and horses — endure grueling journeys by road, rail, sea, and air across continents, with more than 3 million shipped from the European Union (EU) alone.

Current regulations allow pigs to languish in trucks for up to 24 hours, and sheep and cattle to travel for 29 hours with only one hour of “rest.”  After a day’s break, that cruel cycle can continue until the animals reach their destinations, where they often are cruelly fattened and then slaughtered.

There’s currently no restrictions on journeys by sea in livestock vessels, according to Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), the organization hosting the annual  day of action. 

That means that each year, millions of animals endure overcrowding, exhaustion, dehydration, pain, and stress, in addition to mounting death tolls from unexpected disasters, such as fires, disease outbreaks, sinking ships, or trade route blockages.

It’s time for the cruel industry to end, once and for all, said Mandy Carter, CIWF’s head of campaigns.

“It’s vital that we draw attention to the plight of these animals, not just in the EU, but all over the world, so that policy makers understand the breadth of support that exists to end these cruel and unnecessary journeys worldwide,” Carter said. 

This year,  an ongoing ‘fitness check’ on animal welfare regulations, including the transport and export of live animals, and the EU’s promise to revise legislation means there’s a chance for polite public pressure to make a critical, positive difference for animals.

A growing number of people are recognizing the horrors of live export, with last year’s virtual event mobilizing 150 nonprofits in more than 40 countries to demand an end to cruel live exports and long-distance transports.

Animal lovers — wherever they are located — can take part in this year’s actions on June 14 by participating in a Twitter Storm and signing a petition urging public officials to support a ban on live exports.

The day of action on June 14 commemorates more than 13,000 sheep on a sea journey from Romania to Somalia in 2015 who died from dehydration, starvation, and exhaustion. 

Other recent catastrophes included 14,000 sheep who tragically died in 2019 when the Queen Hind overturned; more than 3,000 Spanish cattle stranded at sea for three months starting in December 2020 who were slaughtered upon re-arrival to the country in 2021; and an estimated 200,000 animals who faced food and water shortages after a week-long blockage of the Suez Canal, also in 2021, according to CIWF.

CIWF, which was started in 1967 by a dairy farmer who was appalled at the development of factory farming, has been campaigning for years for bans on the transport of animals over long distances and on the international export of live animals, and better enforcement of international legislation and guidelines on animal welfare during transport and slaughter.

For further information about the International Awareness Day to Ban Live Exports visit Compassion’s website here.