Brazilian court bans live animal exports in historic ruling

Brazilian court bans live animal exports in 'historic' ruling
Thousand cows died when livestock carrier Haidar, loaded with 5,000 cows, capsized at the Vila do Conde port in Bacarena, Para state, Brazil, October 10, 2015, credit: Reuters/Paulo Santos

A Brazilian court has banned the live animal exports from all the country’s ports, marking a significant victory for animal welfare advocates. The decision can be appealed, but for now, it represents a historic ruling in Brazil, a nation with a growing animal production industry.

Federal judge Djalma Gomes handed down the verdict on Tuesday, stating in the ruling that “animals are not things. They are sentient living beings, that is, individuals who feel hunger, thirst, pain, cold, anguish, fear.”

This decision follows a lawsuit filed in 2017 by the National Forum for the Protection and Defense of Animals, a Brazilian animal welfare organization, requesting a ban on all live cattle exports by sea. Animal rights advocates are celebrating the ruling as “historic” for its recognition of the suffering animals endure.

Brazil’s agriculture minister, Carlos Favaro, defended the country’s live cattle trade, stating that international buyers prefer to invest in Brazilian animals. He also claimed that the accommodations provided for animals during transport are adequate. He didn’t say if the government would appeal the decision.

In response to the Brazilian court’s decision, global animal welfare organization Four Paws has urged the European Commission also to propose a ban on all live animal exports.

Animals suffer tremendously during long transportation periods, whether by sea or land, and tragic incidents are all too common in the industry. By following Brazil’s example, the EU can maintain its leading position in animal welfare and set a higher standard for global practices, Four Paws said.

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