Live Export – One Of The Cruellest Things We Can Do To Animals

Posted on September 18, 2022

Millions of animals are live exported on ships every year,  especially cattle and sheep.  They spend weeks travelling, often forced to remain standing the entire voyage; even if they could find the space, to attempt to lie down could mean being trampled or smothered. Most of the ships are open, which leaves animals exposed to intense cold, extreme heat, and being doused by sea water.  Like us, they suffer from seasickness. 

The animals defecate where they stand, leaving them covered in excrement.  The ammonia smell makes it hard to breathe.  Water can be scarce, and also be soiled by excrement.

Many suffer from injuries and disease.  If babies are born during the voyage, they are often tossed overboard.

In 2017 around  2,500 Australian sheep died in the Middle East from heatstroke.  In 2020, the Gulf Livestock I, carrying New Zealand cattle to China sank in a typhoon and approximately 5,800 cattle, and forty-one crew drowned.The countries the animals are exported to generally have little in the way of animal welfare laws, and their slaughterhouses are unregulated.  Some animals are killed immediately on arrival, others are first used for breeding, and then killed.

Live export is one of the cruellest things we can do to sentient beings, and needs to stop.



by Monika Arya

One of the purest beings’ sucked dry sold for a price

Loaded on ferries, lorries or any means they find

Handed over to anyone who would buy

Travel for interminable times sometimes on bawling land, many times tormented waters

Always in infernal misery

Days dark as the darkest night

Narrow space between slats will not let in a shred of light

Soaked in shit, fuming foul tentacles seep into every pore

Open air of boundless seas refuse to absorb the exuding smells

It lingers forever on the trails streaming behind

From their own pee they take a desperate sip

Birth on the way, look at their babies with exhausted love

Knowing they were going to die and tossed overboard

Who wants to carry extra cargo that’s not going to fetch a price?

The buyer will do whatever they like

Cut, strip, hang them until they die

For you for you to sip your chai in your fancy cup

They were sucked dry for your warm joy

Forced to go on a journey from a living death to death

Stacked on meat and dairy shelves poured into cans, cartons and bottles

Wrapped in cellophane, stickers

Indicating best-before-date of expired mankind


Young dairy cow arriving at New Plymouth, New Zealand, to be exported to China.  (Photo Credit, Elin Arbez, Taranaki Animal Save)

Trucks arriving at New Plymouth, New Zealand port to carry cattle to China, 2022 (Photo credit, Summer Aitken, Taranaki Animal Save)

An Australian sheep suffering from heatstroke aboard the Awassi Express, 2017


  • Then how do you suggest they improve conditions on the boats? Live animal exports are also done by air. I presume you have no objections to that

    • Hi Julian
      There’s no way of making live export by sea a pleasant experience for cattle.

      Live exports by air might be much less gruelling on the animals, but we do not support using sentient beings as a source of our food, or exploiting them for profit in any way.

      So all live export should be banned.

      • So what you are effectively saying is that you just don’t want to use them for food. Well the reality is that those animals will be culled instead. Do you object to pets going overseas? What if needed overseas for humanitarian reasons? What about for protecting endangered species? Do Christian vegans consider the ark animal abuse?

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