Full Case Name:  Foro Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Animales (Brazil's ban on live cattle exports)

Share |
Country of Origin:  Brazil Court Name:  Judge 25 civil federal of Sao Paulo Primary Citation:  5000325-94.2017.4.03.6135 Date of Decision:  Wednesday, April 26, 2023 Judge Name:  Djalma Moreira Gomes Attorneys:  ANA PAULA DE VASCONCELOS. RICARDO DE LIMA CATTANI.
Summary: This is the case in which a court in Brazil banned live cattle exports from all Brazilian ports based on animal welfare concerns. It is the result of a lawsuit filed by the NGO "Foro Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Animales," who requested that this type of animal transport to be banned. In 2018, the court granted a temporary injunction prohibiting live cattle exports. However, this injunction was invalidated by a superior tribunal. In her opinion, the judge stated that "animals are not things. They are sentient living beings—individuals who feel hunger, thirst, pain, cold, anguish, and fear. " In its holding, the judge compares the treatment of animals to the treatment suffered by humans during the slave trade, stating that non-human animals suffer the same treatment in the name of commercial development. Furthermore, the judge concluded that the necessary methods to guarantee the health and well-being of animals in this type of transport were not being adopted and urged for the harmonization between the interests of human animals (economic interest or interest in providing food for the population) with the ethics that must preside over their relations with non-human animals, encouraging the country to be at the forefront in abolishing inappropriate handling and eradicating all types of cruelty against animals. Even though this is a landmark decision, it is important to mention that this is not a final decision constituting legal precedent, and a higher court can invalidate it if it is appealed.
Documents:  PDF icon Brazil - Judicial ban on live cattle exports-2023 - in Portuguese.pdf (3.09 MB)

Excerpt holding judicial decision banning live cattle exports in Brazil: 

(...) VII – Conclusion

A few centuries ago, Brazil, not without the persistent opposition of rural landlords, very belatedly renounced, under severe pressure from England, materialized through its navy, to another abominable practice, which took place precisely as now, sailing the seas. Clearly, we are referring to the slave trade, where Africans were brought from their homeland to Brazil, under irons, and subjected, on the journey, to absolutely inhuman conditions, without the slightest attention to the dignity of those human beings. It is not possible that, so long after, similar conducts, despite now involving indignity and suffering of non-human animals, will be justified, tolerated, or even judicially supported, for strictly commercial reasons until, once again, we have to surrender in the face of the international repudiation that will surely come. Thus, based on the elements contained in the case file, it was demonstrated that the necessary measures are not being adopted to guarantee the health and well-being of animals in this type of transport."

The economic importance of trade in animal protein is not ignored, nor is it minimized, as a significant sector of the Brazilian economy, both domestically and in foreign trade.

Despite the already expressive questions that are increasingly being asked today regarding the use of animal protein in human food, this is not the discussion that takes place in this feat.

In the judgment of the notorious case of "vaquejada" – in which the cruelty practiced against animals was discussed as entertainment for humans (ADI 4.983-CE, Rel. Min. Marco Aurélio) -, the late Minister Teori Zavaski pointed out the issue of consumption of animal protein by human beings, as being a question of an ethical nature that sooner or later society will have to face, said the late minister in his ever dense vote:

"We can deal with it in a more abrupt way or more diluted in time, but it is a matter of time before cruelty against animals for entertainment will no longer be tolerated in the civilized world. — we are not at that stage yet due to a series of civilizing, social, and economic issues — the very elimination of animals for food purposes. It did not enter because it is an idea whose time has not yet come to use Victor Hugo's famous expression, but the issue of animal ethics for entertainment purposes is entering humanity's ethical radar. We are having the first chapter of a debate that will not end here or in this case, but which is important to do."

When the time for this debate arrives, and given that Victor Hugo's phrase expressed by Minister Teori is valid ("Nothing is as powerful in the world as an idea whose opportunity has arrived"), perhaps the consumption of non-human animals by human animals will no longer make sense. But until that time arrives, it is undoubtedly intolerable for human malpractices to continue that cause unnecessary suffering to non-human animals, and cruelty against these sentient beings must therefore be abolished entirely.

In this civilizing interregnum, there must be a harmonization between the interests of human animals (economic interest or interest in providing food for the population) with the ethics that must preside over their relations with non-human animals that, as we have seen, are endowed with dignity itself because of their nature as sentient beings.

In this step, great are the challenges, as Levai notes:

"One of the main challenges of ethics may be to reconcile the interests of men with the desires of animals so that there is a consistent, fairer, and more dignified act for all. In this journey towards the full sense of justice, there is no room to continue believing that the right is exclusive to human beings, that nature is a resource destined for exploitation, or that morality is satisfied with effectively granting indirect duties to other beings who are in a position of subservience. Expanding the reach of ethics to cross species barriers is fundamental to human evolution itself. A right that excludes beings who feel and suffer from its protective mantle is certainly not an instrument of justice because if it does, it will be at the service of exclusion and arbitrariness. It is necessary to look for what is just, where it is, within positive law, or even outside it" [1]

To our eternal shame, Brazil was the last country to abolish the slave regime, emphasizing cruel customs and reprehensible practices, including non-compliance with laws "made for the English to see." May we not become the last country to respect the rights of non-human animals effectively, but may we be at the forefront in abolishing inappropriate handling and eradicating all types of cruelty against animals.

Given all the preceding and the excellent reasons given by the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, in a bold opinion drawn up by the Attorney General of the Republic Suzana Fairbanks Oliveira Schnitzlein, registered under ID 9769334 and transcribed above, acceptance of the plaintiff's claim is a necessary measure.

That said, the request made, with a judgment upheld on the merits, pursuant to art. 487, I, of the Code of Civil Procedure definitively prohibit the export of live animals in all ports in the country.

This decision does not take effect until the matter is analyzed by the E. TRF of the 3rd Region, as decided in the records of the Suspension of Injunction n. 5001511-93.2018.403.0000.

Costs ex lege.

Share |