Live Export Ban Should Be Immediate – SAFE NZ

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The two-year phaseout of the export of livestock by sea, announced by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor last week, could mean over 200,000 animals will be shipped overseas before the cruel trade is ended.

TVNZ’s ‘Sunday’ programme last night revealed ship wide suffering on the Yangtze Harmony last year, where 49 cows died during a voyage to China, with a further 19 killed after arrival.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton is calling on the Government to implement an immediate ban.

“With the horrific impacts for animals exposed by ‘Sunday,’ including an ‘abortion storm’, there is no reason to delay,” said Ashton

“If the Government is serious about animal welfare, they should move to protect the thousands of animals who will continue to suffer in live export by stopping this trade immediately.”

The ban on the export of livestock by sea has been celebrated by animal welfare advocates and experts. Dr. John Hellstrom, former chair of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee said, “Once again, it has taken the leadership and advocacy of SAFE to achieve a major advance in animal welfare.”

“Without their work this long overdue ban on export of livestock by sea from New Zealand would not have been achieved,” said Hellstrom. “This move [Banning live export] will significantly improve our international animal welfare reputation. Most importantly, it will stop the suffering and distress these animals have had to endure.”

The Agriculture Minister announced last week that the export of livestock by sea would be phased out over two-years. However, the vast majority of animals exported are day-old chicks and aquatic life, who are shipped by air. Over 2.5 million day-old chicks were exported from Aotearoa in 2020. SAFE wants live export by air banned too.

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On TVNZ’s ‘Sunday’ programme last night, the Minister admitted he doesn’t know what happens to animals exported overseas. Dr. John Hellstrom said the animals will face a much harder and shorter life than they would have in New Zealand.”

“Our biggest concern has always been the way animals are treated in their destination country,” said Ashton. “All of the countries we export animals to have lower standards of animal welfare than our own. Neither the exporting companies nor the Government know what happens to these animals.”

“We can’t impose our laws on other countries, but we can choose to stop exporting to them immediately.”