Exporting live animals for slaughter and fattening would be banned under plans put out for consultation by the UK Government.
Ministers said leaving the European Union allows the UK to enact rules which would prevent unnecessary suffering of animals during transportation on excessively long journeys.
Proposals in the consultation also include reducing maximum journey times, giving animals more space and headroom during transport, and stricter rules on transporting livestock in extreme temperatures and by sea.
Officials said about 6,400 animals were transported from the UK directly to slaughter in continental Europe in 2018, a practice which could not be previously stopped under EU rules.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are committed to improving the welfare of animals at all stages of life. Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter.
“Now we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice.”
A Scottish consultation on animal transport is expected soon, leading NFU Scotland to say it would comment once proposed changes are revealed.
The union added: “Scotland’s geography means domestic transport is an essential element of our livestock industry.
“That has seen the use of innovative, welfare-friendly transport solutions particularly when shipping livestock from some of our islands.”
The announcement from Westminster was welcomed by animal welfare groups, who said they have been campaigning on the issue for more than 50 years.
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “There is absolutely no reasonable justification to subject an animal to an unnecessarily stressful journey abroad simply for them to be fattened for slaughter. Ending live exports for slaughter and further fattening would be a landmark achievement for animal welfare.”