Government documents reveal the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) approved a shipment of cattle last month, despite the Government announcing a review into live export five days earlier.
MPI received an application on June 16, 2019 to export 5,400 cattle from Napier to China which it subsequently approved, making it the largest export of live animals in two years. MPI received the application five days following Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor’s announcement that a conditional ban on the live export of cattle was being considered as part of a review.
SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald says the Government needs to take its review of live export more seriously.
“Despite the suffering of animals prompting a review on the live export trade, MPI is still approving shipments of live animals,” says Ms Macdonald.
“Minister O’Connor acknowledged that once animals leave New Zealand, they have very limited ability to ensure their wellbeing when they reach their destination. All live export applications should have been immediately put on hold pending the results of the review.”
“The Minister needs to place a moratorium on all live animal exports while the review is underway.”
Damien O’Connor ordered the review after ABC News published their exposé on the Sri Lankan dairy scheme in April. Australian live Export corporation Wellard Limited shipped 2,000 New Zealand cows to Sri Lanka as part of the scheme which has been described as a human and animal welfare disaster. SAFE first alerted the Minister to the plight of New Zealand cows in Sri Lanka in January but took he no action until two months after the story went public.
“Minister O’Connor has been slow to review the cruelty of live export. They’re still yet to confirm the scope of the review. Meanwhile, animals continue to suffer in the live export trade,” says Ms Macdonald.
“SAFE launched a petition outside Parliament last month demanding the Government prohibits the live export of all farmed animals to countries with lower animal welfare, transport and slaughter standards than NZ. Over ten thousand people have already signed. We’re calling on all caring Kiwis to sign our petition, urging our Government to make positive change for animals.”