Fourteen thousand sheep are trapped inside a live export ship which capsized off the coast of Romania on Sunday night. Many of the sheep have likely drowned.
Livestock carrier Queen Hind capsized on Sunday night after leaving the port of Midia. Early responders rescued all 22 crew members and at least 32 sheep found swimming nearby. Coastguards, police and firefighters are scrambling to try to save the animals still trapped inside the ship.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald says disasters like this are an inherent risk in the live export trade.
“All New Zealand can do to avoid a disaster like this is to stop the export of live animals altogether,” says Macdonald.
“New Zealand is a remote island nation without the benefit of close neighbours who could help respond to a catastrophe like this. If a similar incident occurred to a live export ship leaving New Zealand, it is quite unlikely that we’d be able to respond.”
“Earlier this month, 3,978 cows were exported from Timaru Port. They would all likely have drowned if that ship had capsized off our coast.”
The live export trade is currently under review by the Ministry for Primary Industries. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor ordered the review following an ABC News exposé which revealed that New Zealand and Australian cows were sick and dying in Sri Lanka.
“The live export trade is inherently cruel. In addition to the risk of incidents such as this disaster off Romania, all animals exported for breeding purposes will eventually be slaughtered in their destination country, most likely by means deemed too cruel to be legal in New Zealand.”
“We banned the export of many animals for slaughter in 2003. Now it’s time to end the entire trade for good.”