Each year, at least 1 billion live poultry and 37 million live cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and equines are transported over long distances within the EU and to third countries.
Their journey can last several days, often covering thousands of kilometres, exposing them to exhaustion, dehydration, injuries, disease, and even death. Not even the old, the weak or the newly born are spared.
This illegal trade severely impacts upon the health and welfare of the animals involved.
Many are born in inhumane circumstances, socialised poorly and transported great distances, often at the risk of disease. Once purchased, often online, their unsuspecting owners are regularly left heartbroken when things go wrong.
Over recent years there has been a growing trend towards keeping exotic animals instead of traditional pets, placing the EU as a top importer of tropical fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. There are more than 200 million pets in Europe, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians. However, many species, especially exotic animals, are unsuited to a life in captivity.