Halal Industry

How much in live animals does UAE import and where do they come from?

How much in live animals does UAE import and where do they come from?

The United Arab Emirates imported $204.23 million worth of live animals in 2016, according to the most recent available full-year data on ITC Trade Map based on the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade).

As a comparison, UAE imported $1.63 billion in meat and edible meat offals in 2016. 

Three categories accounted for 88.5 percent of the country’s import of live animals: sheep and goats, camels, and horses. Camels and horses are not typically slaughtered for food in UAE. 

Live sheep and goats was the biggest import category, accounting for 36.3 percent, or $74.12 million, of the total value of all live animals arriving in the country. Sheep made up the bigger $41.88 million.

Live camels accounted for 28.8 percent, or $58.81 million, of all live animal imports in 2016.

Live horses, asses, mules and hinnies, were the third biggest category, making up 23.4 percent, or $47.87 million, of total live animal imports. Of this, 88 percent, or $42.07 million, were live horses.

Live bovines, which are cows and buffaloes, accounted for only 1.18 percent, or $2.42 million, of all live animals into the UAE in 2016.


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92 percent of UAE’s $41.88 million import of live sheep came from just three countries.

India was the source of more than half: 54.5 percent, equivalent to $22.82 million. It typically takes up to five days to transport sheep by sea from India to UAE. 

Australia sold $11.6 million of live sheep to the country, and $4.25 million came from Jordan. 

It takes more than ten days for sheep to arrive by sea from Australia to UAE. 


India was also the top exporter of live goats to UAE, transporting 86.7 percent, or $27.96 million, of all goats to UAE into the Gulf state in 2016.

Oman is in distant second, sending $1.01 million of live goats to its neighbour.


UAE imported a higher dollar value of camels than sheep in 2016: $58.81 million versus $41.88 million of live sheep.

Live camels came from only six countries: Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Kuwait, and Luxembourg.

Oman alone was the source of 83.7 percent, or $49.24 million of live camels for the UAE.

Interestingly, Luxembourg shipped to UAE $29,000 worth of live camels and other camelids, which are a type of camel.


The United Kingdom was the top exporter of live horses to UAE in 2016.

UK sold $13.01 million of the $47.87 million total import of live horses to the UAE, followed by $7.25 million from France, and $7.15 million from Germany.

Live horses also came from farther afield: the United States sold $5.35 million of live horses to UAE in 2016, followed by $3.27 million from Argentina.

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