Live animal transport

Four Paws Statement on Recent Cases of Cruel Live Animal Transport

FOUR PAWS condemns the ongoing practice of live animal transport by sea 


Vienna, 21 February – This week started with reports all around the world about an unbearable stench coming from a ship carrying 19,000 cattle docked at the port of Cape Town. This is not an isolated incident affecting the local air quality but symptom of a bigger issue: Unnecessary animal suffering during live animal transport. Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS condemns the cruel conditions of live animal transport by sea and urges for its end.

“Morocco, Australia and now South Africa. Only a few weeks into 2024 and we have already faced three major tragedies of unnecessary animal suffering on sea. Farm animals not only suffer from the stench within the ship but also from conditions unthinkable for humans - lack of food, water and space, no medical treatments during these highly stressful journeys, and extreme temperatures. Untreated injuries, stress, heat strokes and collapses caused by thirst, hunger or physiological disorders are some of the cruel but frequent causes of death of these helpless animals,” says Corinna Reinisch, Programme Lead Farm Animal Welfare at FOUR PAWS.

“The incident in Cape Town gained media attention because of the discomfort it caused people due to its stench. However, the underlying issue is much bigger and more tragic. The suffering thousands of animals endure on a daily basis on this – and other vessels – must finally be addressed more critically. The problem is a global one, for example, more than 60 per cent of live animal exports from the EU to non-EU countries happen by sea, making it a major contributor to animal suffering”

Corinna Reinisch, Programme Lead Farm Animal Welfare at FOUR PAWS

FOUR PAWS calls on decision makers in the EU and globally to finally address the animal welfare violations of live animal transport by sea and once and for all put an end to this cruel means of transport:

  • Ban live animal transport by sea
  • Shift to a transport of meat and carcasses instead of live animals
  • Stop long-distance land transports over eight hours (four hours for poultry) and ideally transport animals to the nearest appropriate slaughterhouses under strict control measures

Stop Cruel Live Animal Transports

Move the System, not the Animals!

Find out more
Anita Mangalath International PR Officer

Anita Mangalath

PR International Officer

+43 (0) 664 848 55 87

VIER PFOTEN International 
Linke Wienzeile 236
1150 Vienna, Austria

FOUR PAWS on Social Media

Stay up to date on this topic and on all FOUR PAWS activities on our social media channels:

or subscribe to FOUR PAWS International newsletter.


FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

Share now!