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Source: SAFE NZ

In an article published last week in Farmers Weekly, Australian live animal export company Austrex NZ advocated for the export of four-day old calves as an alternative to being ‘tapped on the head,’ referring to the use of a blunt force trauma.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald said the export company appears to be trying to influence the Government’s live export review.
“It might be news to Austrex NZ that the use of blunt force trauma is illegal except in the case of an emergency,” says Macdonald. “We’d be appalled to see baby animals, who need to be fed regularly, subjected to such long journeys.”
It appears Austrex NZ is trying to circumvent our animal welfare laws and push for approval despite limits on the export of young calves.
The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 states that the maximum duration of transport for calves younger than 14 days is 12 hours. Airfreight would be the only practical method of export in such a case and would be prohibitively costly for large animals like calves.
“Live export of animals is stressful enough for adult cows,” said Macdonald. “The Government would have to roll back the minimal protections that currently exist to allow exporters to ship four-day old calves by sea.”
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– Section 34(1) of the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 states ‘A person in charge of a young calf must not transport the calf unless the total duration of the journey from the point of loading the calf onto the vehicle to the point of arrival at the final destination of the journey is no more than 12 hours.’ Where a regulation specifically refers to ‘young calves,’ this means calves up to 14-days-old that have been separated from their mother.
– Section 8(1) of the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 states “a person must not kill a calf by using blunt force to the head unless – the calf is in severe pain or distress and, as a result, requires immediate humane destruction; and there is no reasonably practicable alternative to the use of blunt force available.”
– 22,803 cows were exported from New Zealand between January and May 2020. During the same period last year, 12,104 cows were exported. In total, 39,269 cows were exported in 2019.
– The live export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter was banned in 2003. However, it is still legal to export these animals for breeding purposes.
– Animals exported for breeding purposes will eventually be slaughtered, potentially by means too cruel to be legal in New Zealand.
– The Government is currently reviewing the live-export trade. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has expressed his preference for a conditional ban on cattle exports.