SAFE applauds Government decision to cancel Saudi sheep deal


SAFE applauds the Government’s decision to cancel the controversial Saudi sheep deal, a plan by the previous Government which was to include a $10 million slaughterhouse in the Saudi desert.

The deal was negotiated in response to the ban on live animal exports for slaughter, a 2003 decision which upset Saudi businessman Sheik Hmood Al-Khalaf who invested in New Zealand farms with the goal of exporting live animals. Under the deal, he also flew 900 heavily pregnant sheep to his farm in the desert where many of the lambs died immediately.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says “In addition, we urge the government to ban the export of live animals for breeding purposes.”

“Animals transported on live export ships can suffer from extreme exhaustion and dehydration as a lack of water and high temperatures take their toll. Rough seas can cause significant stress to those animals as they’re flung around the rocking ship.”

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The Government banned live animal exports for slaughter in 2003 after 4000 sheep died on route to the Middle East aboard the Cormo Express, which included sheep owned by Al-Khalaf.

“Each year, thousands of animals continue to be sent countries where animal welfare standards are well behind ours.

“It’s time that the Government closed the loophole on all live animal exports for breeding purposes.”


  1. Kudos to the NZ Coalition Govt and thanks from Kiwis and sheep of every ilk – excepting- I suppose- Cully boy down the lane.

    (What a nursery rhyme this may pan into.)

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