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The Year in Review

International Legal Developments Year in Review: 2022

International Animal Law - International Legal Developments Year in Review: 2022

Daina Bray, Paula Cardoso Margarido, Jake Davis, Yolanda Eisenstein, Antoine Goetschel, Cailen Labarge, Joan E Schaffner, and Paul Tweddell


  • In October 2022, the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), an international association of lawyers, approved the formation of an Animal Law Commission Working Group.
  • The addition of a working group to the UIA was an important step in advancing animal law's recognition and relevance on the global stage.
  • In 2022, international animal law continued to be a dynamic and growing field.
International Animal Law  - International Legal Developments Year in Review: 2022
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This Article reviews significant international legal developments made in the area of animal law and policy in 2022.

I. Introduction

In October 2022, the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), an international association of lawyers, approved the formation of an Animal Law Commission Working Group. The addition of a working group to the UIA was an important step in advancing animal law’s recognition and relevance on the global stage. In 2022, international animal law continued to be a dynamic and growing field.

Many noteworthy legal events in animal law occurred over the past year. The following survey provides a snapshot of several such events that reflect global trends. First, we explain how a Brazilian judge held a city accountable for failing to enforce animal cruelty laws. Then, we discuss how the U.S. government dealt with the abuse of beagles bred for scientific research. Additionally, we provide an update on the litigation to recognize nonhuman animals as rightsholders, an analysis of a groundbreaking United Nations resolution, and details on New Zealand’s ban on live exports by sea.

II. Brazilian High Court Holds Municipality Responsible for Failing to Address Animal Neglect & Environmental Damage

The Brazilian Constitution provides that citizens have the right to an ecologically balanced environment and prohibits animal cruelty as a part of ensuring the effectiveness of that right. What happens when a municipality plays a role in animal mistreatment? The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice recently answered this question.

In 2012, after receiving a complaint from a veterinarian, the Public Attorney’s Office of the State of São Paulo launched an investigation into allegations of neglected animals on land within the city of Guarulhos. The authorities discovered an alarming situation: a local resident who had been illegally occupying the land for six years was housing 107 dogs in poor conditions in an unlicensed kennel. Although most of the dogs did not have serious injuries or diseases, the authorities found that they had not been receiving adequate veterinary care and were not fully vaccinated. The resident and the São Paulo Public Attorney’s Office reached an agreement requiring the resident to leave the property and provide proof that she had transferred the dogs to private homes or for placement in adoption programs.

During a 2016 inspection to confirm that the resident had complied with the prior agreement, the Guarulhos authorities found that the resident had vacated the property but had reestablished the unlicensed kennel on another area of public land within the city of Guarulhos. Upon further investigation, the São Paulo Public Attorney’s Office found that animal waste from the kennel had contaminated the soil of this new area. Moreover, the Office found that the city of Guarulhos had failed to take adequate action in the intervening years, even though city representatives had been aware that the kennel was operating without a license. On this basis, the Public Attorney’s Office filed a public civil action against the city of Guarulhos, the Urban Housing Development Company of the State of São Paulo, and the resident. A public civil action is a civil legal proceeding used to address moral or material damages to collective goods and rights such as damages to the environment, consumers, goods and rights of artistic value, or honor and dignity of racial groups.

The lower court banned the resident from sheltering new animals in the unlicensed kennel and ordered her to relinquish the dogs in her possession. It also ordered the city of Guarulhos to house the animals in an appropriate place, providing them with necessary veterinary care with the aim of making them available for adoption, or to transfer them to private adoption programs. The court ordered the São Paulo Urban Housing Development Company, which had been named as a defendant because it owned the land at issue, to restore the area to its prior state and to inspect it regularly to prevent a recurrence. The city appealed the decision, arguing that the resident had committed the underlying acts and that the city had no responsibility. The Court of Appeals gave the city more time to comply with the order but otherwise upheld the lower court’s decision.

The city again appealed, and the Superior Court of Justice agreed to hear the case. In its decision, the Superior Court disagreed with the city’s position that it bore no responsibility:

According to the jurisprudence of this Court, environmental protection is the duty of all spheres of government, in light of the principle of cooperative environmental federalism consolidated in Complementary Law n. 140/2001. Failure to inspect and mitigate damages leads to the judicial imposition of positive obligations on the administration in order to solve the problem whose temporal and quantitative extension reveals an affront to the ecological dimension of human dignity. . . .

Therefore, there is no need to talk about the ineligibility of the municipality to be a defendant when, aware of the facts for 13 years, it failed to take effective measures in response, penalizing animals submitted to the “shelter,” which cannot even be tolerated, especially in the face of the ecological dimension of human dignity, already recognized by this court.

Thus, the Superior Court affirmed that government agencies can be accountable if they are aware of and fail to address significant and prolonged acts of animal cruelty and environmental damage. As recognized by the Superior Court of Justice, all levels of government in Brazil are jointly and severally responsible for environmental law enforcement, and animal cruelty—which is understood to be a harm to the environment—harms human dignity.

III. Envigo Beagles: Rescued from the Dual Horrors of Confined Breeding and Use in Laboratories

Docile, obedient, and human-trusting, beagles are the dog breed of choice for use in research and testing because of their size and personality. Annually, nearly 60,000 beagles are used in research in the United States alone, and some 200,000 dogs are used globally. To meet this demand, thousands of beagles are bred in facilities that resemble factory farms. Notably, no international standards regulate the use of animals in research or breeding; only domestic laws govern. In the United States, for example, the Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) enforces the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA regulates breeders and research facilities but sets only minimal standards that arguably do not meet the most basic needs of the animals. Breeders may keep dogs confined in stacked, all-wire cages that leave only six inches of space above the dog’s head and in front of their nose. Moreover, the dogs receive little to no exercise, socialization, or enrichment. They may be left in extreme temperatures for up to four hours, and there are no limits on how frequently a dog may be bred. The breeders then sell the dogs to laboratories for research and testing. The AWA provides that research protocols should minimize pain and distress where possible, but no research protocol may be altered, even if it causes severe pain and suffering to the animal. Generally, the research facilities kill the dogs when they are no longer needed.

Beginning in July 2022, approximately 4,000 beagles were rescued from horrendous conditions at the Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia. From this facility, Envigo bred and sold beagles for research. This rescue, the largest in the 67-year history of the Humane Society of the United States, raised awareness of the inhumane use of animals in research and testing.

Envigo RMS, a Class A licensee under the AWA, was cited for over sixty AWA violations between July 2021 and March 2022 but received no sanctions and faced no consequences. In March 2022 two Virginia Senators wrote to APHIS requesting information about the “repeated AWA violations [at Envigo and charging] . . . that APHIS did not use available enforcement tools, including fines, license suspension, and animal confiscation, to correct the ‘continued, horrific mistreatment’ of animals.” Only after this, and nearly two months later, did the U.S. government file a lawsuit against Envigo. Among other things, the complaint alleged that dogs were kept in overcrowded conditions; incompatible dogs were housed together which resulted in dog fights; nursing mothers were deprived of food for forty-eight-hour periods and when food was offered it contained live insects; dogs with serious illnesses received no attention, resulting in over 300 puppies dying over seven months of “unknown causes” with many not receiving anesthesia before being euthanized; and gaps in the flooring of cages were large enough for puppies’ feet to fall through up to their shoulders. On May 21, Judge Moon issued a temporary restraining order, concluding “that Envigo is engaged in serious and ongoing violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and that an immediate temporary restraining order must issue to put a halt to such violations.” In June, the court issued a preliminary injunction, and the facility announced it would close. On July 15, the parties entered into a Consent Decree that provided for the transfer of almost 4,000 beagles to rescue organizations, barred Envigo from any activity requiring an AWA license at the Cumberland facility, and resolved all civil claims against Envigo without barring any criminal prosecuting authority from filing charges. On July 21, rescue groups began removing the beagles from these horrific conditions.

The conditions at Envigo are not uncommon. In June 2022, as Envigo announced it would close, animal advocates released footage of beagles bred for laboratories in the United Kingdom at MBR Acres, a facility in Cambridgeshire that breeds approximately 2,000 beagles annually for sale. The dogs are confined in wire cages, are extremely stressed, and engage in pathological repetitive behaviors. These conditions are similar to those in pig factory farms.

The Envigo beagles, including Uno and Fin—the first and last dogs rescued—were fortunate. However, thousands of beagles in other facilities world-wide continue to be bred for use in research. Many argue that most uses of animals in laboratories should cease given the availability of non-animal alternatives that are more humane and arguably more effective and efficient. In the United Kingdom, 67 percent of experiments on beagles involve the forced-feeding of chemicals for up to ninety days, with no pain relief or anesthetic; remarkably, these experiments are classified as only “mild suffering.” The dogs are killed at the conclusion of the experiments. This inhumane toxicity testing procedure fails to predict human responses 70 percent of the time. Although in 2022 voters in Switzerland rejected a total ban on animal testing, forty-two countries ban the sale of cosmetic products tested on animals. In 2022, laws banning the sale of new animal-tested cosmetics took effect in Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.

A serious hurdle to moving to non-animal alternatives is that the law often requires animal tests on new drugs before approval. In the U.K., all new drugs must be tested on two animals—a rodent and a non-rodent—before progressing to human trials. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act, unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in September 2022, would end animal testing mandates and allow the use of alternative methods to meet FDA requirements. Further, the Humane Research and Testing Act aims to accelerate the use of alternatives in science by providing additional funding for the research and development of animal replacements. And the Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences Act expands the responsibilities of the National Institutes of Health to promote research methods that do not use animals. These laws and others are needed globally to incentivize the development and use of non-animal alternatives to research and testing to put an end to the inhumane breeding and use of beagles—and all other animals—in laboratories.

IV. International Animal Rights Developments and Favorable Dissents

“Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,” so 2022 should be remembered in the fight for nonhuman animal rights. For the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), the year began in South America.

On January 27, 2022, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador issued a landmark ruling. The underlying case was a habeas corpus action brought by Ana Beatriz Burbano Proaño on behalf of Estrellita, a chorongo monkey illegally kept by Ms. Proaño for eighteen years before being seized by Ecuadorian authorities. During the lawsuit’s pendency, the NhRP and the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School (ALPP) filed a joint amicus curiae brief urging the Court to recognize nonhuman animals as rightsholders. Specifically, the NhRP and ALPP urged the Court to decide that (1) nonhuman animals can be subjects of rights, (2) writs of habeas corpus can be appropriate for nonhuman animals, and (3) the rights of nature provision in Ecuador’s Constitution protects nonhuman animals as subjects of rights. The Court was convinced: in a 7-2 decision relying heavily on the joint amicus brief, the Court found that the rights of nature include nonhuman animals. The court added that habeas corpus could be an appropriate action for wild nonhuman animals, although the writ did not apply to Estrellita because she had passed away prior to the resolution of the case. With this ruling, the precedent has been set for extending constitutional protections to nonhuman animals under the rights of nature theory, which recognizes individual nonhuman animals as having protectable inherent value.

Six months later on June 14, the New York Court of Appeals issued its decision in a habeas corpus action brought by the NhRP, which sought to free an Asian elephant named Happy from her solitary confinement at the Bronx Zoo. The case marked the first time in history that the highest court of any English speaking jurisdiction heard arguments for a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of a nonhuman animal. The Court ruled against Happy in a 5-2 decision, holding that the writ of habeas corpus, which safeguards the fundamental right to bodily liberty, does not apply to nonhuman animals. However, Judges Rowan D. Wilson and Jenny Rivera issued powerful dissenting opinions. Remarking on the availability of habeas corpus throughout history to challenge the unjust confinements of humans with few or no rights, the dissenting judges reasoned that our knowledge about the extraordinary cognitive abilities and needs of elephants justifies extending the writ’s protections to them. Like famous dissents that paved the way for recognizing fundamental rights for humans, Judge Wilson’s and Judge Rivera’s dissents may pave the way for recognizing fundamental rights in at least some nonhuman animals.

Notably, the dissents relied on international caselaw concerning animal rights. In attacking the majority’s finding that nonhuman animals cannot have rights, Judge Wilson noted that “many other countries have given animals rights.” He cited a decision by the Indian Supreme Court holding that the Indian Constitution’s due process clause applies to all species, a decision by an Argentinian court granting a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of a chimpanzee named Cecilia, and a decision by Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court granting a writ of mandate petition brought on behalf of an elephant named Kaavan.

Judge Rivera began her dissent by quoting at length from Kaavan’s case:

An animal undoubtedly is a sentient being. It has emotions and can feel pain or joy. By nature each species has its own natural habitat. They require distinct facilities and environments for their behavioural, social and physiological needs. This is how they have been created . . . . To separate an elephant from the herd and keep it in isolation is not what has been contemplated by nature. Like humans, animals also have natural rights which ought to be recognized. It is a right of each animal, a living being, to live in an environment that meets the latter’s behavioral, social and physiological needs.

Judge Rivera went on to state that Happy’s unnatural environment at the Bronx Zoo “does not allow her to live her life as she was meant to: as a self-determinative, autonomous elephant in the wild.” Judge Rivera further explained that Happy’s captivity is not only “inherently unjust and inhumane,” it is “an affront to a civilized society.” As an autonomous being, Happy should have the “right to live free of an involuntary captivity imposed by humans, that serves no purpose other than to degrade life.” Although Happy was not freed, the dissents affirm the possibility of recognizing nonhuman animal rights in the United States. Both Happy’s case and Estrellita’s case demonstrate judges’ increased willingness to consider animals’ interests independent of human interests.

The NhRP intends to use the momentum from this year to achieve even more moving forward. On July 26, 2022, the NhRP introduced its first federal legislative initiative alongside Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). In 2023, the NhRP has already filed an appellate habeas corpus petition in California’s Fifth District Court of Appeals on behalf of three elephants at the Fresno Zoo. Upcoming internal plans also include filing an action in Colorado demanding freedom for elephants, and in a to-be-named jurisdiction, demanding freedom for a cetacean, among other cases. It also hopes to file suit in India on behalf of Shankar, a solitary African elephant held at the Delhi Zoo.

The Founder and President of the NhRP once wrote, “it should now be obvious that the ancient Great Wall that has for so long divided humans from every other animal is biased, irrational, unfair, and unjust. It is time to knock it down.” The year of 2022 marks the end of the beginning of the knocking down of that wall.

V. Historic United Nations Resolution Highlights Nexus Between Animal Welfare and Environmental Sustainability

In early March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) took an extraordinary step. For the first time in its history and by unanimous vote, the UNEA adopted a resolution (the Resolution) connecting animal welfare to environmental protection and sustainability. The Resolution is titled the “Animal Welfare - Environment - Sustainable Development Nexus,” and was officially adopted at the UNEA meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on March 2, 2022. This is the first time a United Nations (UN) body has adopted any measure referencing or relating to animal welfare.

The UNEA, the governing body of the United Nations Environment Programme, is the international authority on environmental and sustainability policy. In addition to adopting important resolutions on international environmental policy, the UNEA assists the international community via its vast expertise, including helping to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Resolution not only emphasizes the importance of improving global animal welfare to the UN’s goals concerning One Health and Harmony with Nature, but for the first time explicitly notes that animal health and welfare is connected to human health and well-being. Sponsored by member states Ghana, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Pakistan, the Resolution instructs the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to draft a report on the nexus between animal welfare, the environment, and sustainable development to be presented at the UNEA’s sixth annual meeting to be held between February and March of 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya. The report will be a collaboration between the UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the One Health High-Level Expert Panel. Finally, the Resolution requires the UNEP to take a One Health approach to all matters involving animal welfare.

The Resolution is a watershed moment for animal protection in international policy. In addition to being the first of any UN policy incorporating animal welfare into explicit policy, the Resolution also signals to the world that the scientific connections between animal health and welfare, human health and welfare, and environmental health and sustainability can no longer be ignored, but must be the foundations for collective change. Despite historically being treated as entirely separate areas of law and policy, animal welfare, human rights, and environmental protection issues are broadly interconnected. Humans are animals, and the foundations of both animal welfare and human rights theory and practice surround issues of vulnerability, ability, dignity, agency, justice, and the basic physical, mental, and emotional needs of life. In fact, the most foundational principles of international human rights jurisprudence—those concerning rights to life, liberty, bodily integrity, freedom from torture and inhumane treatment—are the cornerstones by which we define basic animal welfare.

Commercial industries that exploit animals for profit often violate important human rights and environmental protections in addition to causing animal suffering, with industrial animal agriculture being a top contributor to these negative externalities. The scale of factory farming is vast; over 73 billion land animals were slaughtered for food in 2020 alone. Each of these animals is a sentient individual with the ability to feel pain, fear, stress, and grief, and the methods by which they are raised (or caught) and slaughtered have significant and often irreversible consequences on our own health and that of our ecosystems and the global climate.

These consequences are becoming more and more obvious and dire. They include systemic human rights violations such as the abuse of farm and meat industry workers; human slavery within the commercial fishing industry; excessive pollution and emissions that harm public health and local ecosystems, further contributing to environmental injustice; unsustainable water use; and mass tropical deforestation to create land for animal agriculture, including growing animal feed crops.

Unfortunately, attempts to further regulate industrial animal agriculture are often hindered by the capitalistic interests of profitability and market consolidation. Under a different regulatory framework, where animal welfare was ensured via enforceable legal standards, human well-being and environmental stability would improve globally as well. This is why the Resolution’s approach, which recognizes the importance of animal welfare in environmental preservation and human rights jurisprudence and that of a unified One Health approach, is critical to our shared future.

Animal welfare is inextricably linked to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), with improved animal welfare standards in agriculture serving to improve compliance with many of the SDGs, including SDG 1 on ending poverty, SDG 2 on ending hunger, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG 14 on conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. Measures aimed at improving animal welfare within factory farming systems will also positively impact additional SDGs, such as SDG 6 on fresh water quality and SDG 15 on protecting terrestrial ecosystems and combating deforestation. In addition, because intensive confinement systems are breeding grounds for the development of zoonotic disease, improving animal welfare in this way will also reduce the risk of future pandemics and food borne illnesses and also lessen our global dependence on antibiotics, impacting SDG 3 on ensuring human health and well-being. Improving animal health and welfare in global food production will also positively impact the stability of our food systems overall, as animals suffering from inhumane treatment are more susceptible to injury and disease.

The consequences of ignoring animal welfare’s importance to human and environmental health have never been clearer, especially as the climate crisis continues to evolve and expand in impact. The passage of the Resolution signals a critical development in international policy, one that recognizes that human rights and environmental protection cannot be separated from the welfare of all other living beings on planet earth, as humans are entirely dependent on a healthy planet, healthy and thriving ecosystems, and abundant biodiversity.

VI. New Zealand Bans Live Exports by Sea

On September 28, 2022, the New Zealand government announced a ban on live animal exports by sea for the purpose of breeding. The ban was introduced through the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which states, “A person must not apply for, and the Director-General must not issue, an animal welfare export certificate for the export of cattle, deer, goats, or sheep by ship.”

The ban applies only to live export by sea, not by air, where the travel times are much shorter, or by land, which like by sea, can involve long travel times in treacherous conditions. The law, effective as of April 2023, makes all live exports of animals by sea prohibited, as New Zealand currently bans live exports for fattening and slaughter.

Live export from New Zealand is particularly cruel given that the country’s remoteness requires long and arduous journeys. Tragedies often occur. For example, in September 2020, the Gulf Livestock 1, an export ship that left New Zealand destined for China, sank, killing 6,000 cattle and 41 crew members. Further, 23 routine animal fatalities occurred during live export from New Zealand in the first half of 2022; in 2021, 86 such fatalities occurred. A review of the live export industry, which began in 2019 and included the events of the Gulf Livestock 1 tragedy, showed considerable public support for the Bill. Hence, in 2021, a two-year transition period began to provide farmers and companies time to adjust to a possible future ban on live exports.

The Bill’s passage reflects a decision by the New Zealand government to protect the country’s reputation in a world where people are becoming more concerned with animal welfare. Speaking on behalf of the ban, New Zealand’s Minister for Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, said, “It protects the reputation of not just our farmers now, but the farmers of the future.” Furthermore, the ban will not significantly impact New Zealand’s economy; in 2021, live exports by sea represented only 0.6 percent of primary sector exports. O’Connor added that the Bill “future-proofs our economic security amid increasing consumer scrutiny across the board on production practices.”

The decision to ban live exports has been met with support from New Zealanders and throughout the world. In New Zealand, a Green Party spokesperson, Chlöe Swarbrick, said, “This could not have come soon enough. Animals have been suffering in live export for years.” Debra Ashton, Chief Executive of New Zealand’s Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE), said, “We’ve been working tirelessly with activists across the country for decades to end live export, and we’re grateful the Government has listened.” Abroad, Mandy Carter from Compassion In World Farming said, “We’re delighted to hear that New Zealand has announced it will ban live exports next year.” FOUR PAWS said the new law was a “milestone for animal welfare,” while the National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in South Africa, said, “This is a MASSIVE victory in the world of animal welfare.”

There was opposition to the Bill and some of the arguments put forward had merit. Because other countries still permit live export and the demand still exists, the gap in the market left by the New Zealand ban will be met elsewhere. Adrian Ladaniwskyj, Senior Market Analyst at Mecardo in Australia, said, “Australia is expected to become the most prominent player in cattle exports to China, as the New Zealand ban on exports by sea are brought to a final halt on the 30th April, 2023.”

In live export, animals have precarious journeys, spending days, weeks, and even months on overcrowded ships. They suffer from disease, severe heat, stress, exhaustion and dehydration, and are forced to live in their own excrement. These journeys often go horribly wrong, resulting in thousands of animals drowning, as well as humans, as in the case of Gulf Livestock 1. Earlier this year, a live export ship sank in Sudan, resulting in 15,000 sheep drowning; in 2020, 14,000 sheep drowned in Romania when a ship capsized. In 2021, 3,000 cattle were stranded in the Mediterranean Sea for three months, leading to many dying, starving, or severely dehydrated animals. Often, the situation is worse for those animals who survive because they endure more suffering and inhumane slaughter when they arrive in countries with little to no animal welfare laws.

After New Zealand took the lead with this landmark decision, Germany also announced a ban on all live export by sea to countries outside the European Union. Other jurisdictions must now follow their lead. As New Zealand’s Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor correctly said, countries’ reputations are at stake. Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, is committed to ending live export. However, the earliest the trade would be phased out is 2025. The U.K. committed in 2020 to ban the export of live animals by sea for slaughter and fattening but not for breeding. The U.K. ban would be done through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. Elisa Allen, Vice President of Programmes at PETA U.K. said, “Now that New Zealand has passed legislation banning the sordid live-export trade, all eyes are on the U.K. government to follow suit.” The push for the EU to ban live exports is important, as the union includes 27 countries. Further, as Germany’s ban does not include live export within the EU, animals from Germany can be exported in an onward trade to countries outside the EU by other EU countries.

New Zealand’s ban has also been used to reinforce calls for prohibitions on live exports in the U.S. and South Africa. Victoria Paige, an author on the Animal Petitions website, has called for the U.S. government to ban live exports: “The passing of [New Zealand’s] law is a milestone for animal welfare, and will save the lives of tens of thousands of livestock.” The NSPCA in South Africa said, “It is time for South Africa to follow suit [and] acknowledge the suffering our sheep are subjected to on board live export vessels.”

Viable alternatives that make live export unnecessary may further support efforts to ban the practice. For example, the export of live animals for slaughter can be replaced by the export of animal carcasses, and the export of live animals for breeding can be replaced by semen and embryos. Farmers can transition to these alternatives and substitute live export by meeting domestic demand for meat and dairy. Even better, farmers could transition away from animal agriculture for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment. Praising an example of such a shift, Debra Ashton of SAFE said, “The Netherlands has already put a plan in place to help transition farmers out of animal agriculture—including a buy-out scheme to smooth the transition.”

Although New Zealand’s prohibition represents a significant achievement and a critical line in the sand, animal rights advocates have a long way to go to stop the live export trade. Hopefully, more nations will follow their lead and do the same, thereby preventing demand from being met by supply elsewhere. Additionally, countries must consider the suffering of animals in live export by land and air, as well as by sea. There must be viable alternatives for consumers and farmers, as well as greater public awareness of the benefits for animals, humans, and the environment of having a more plant-based diet. Further, education—including legal education—must expand peoples’ comprehension that animals, like humans, are sentient beings capable of feeling pain and distress.