Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: SAFE For Animals
Today for Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day, people around the world are pressuring their governments to end the live export trade.
While the export of livestock by sea is ending in Aotearoa, the Government has yet to announce the date by which the trade will be phased out. In April, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the trade will cease following a transition period of up to two years.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Bianka Atlas said thousands of animals will suffer while live export continues.
“Two years is too long,” said Atlas.”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 live export ship Maysora is expected to arrive at Ahuriri port next week. Yangtze Harmony is also expected to arrive in Ahuriri around 23 June.
In 2018, the Maysora was investigated by animal welfare inspectors while it was docked at Fremantle, Australia. The inspectors found that sheep couldn’t lie down without being trampled and could not access food and water. Cattle were trampled and unable to regain their footing because their “manure had turned into a slippery liquid slurry.” All this before the ship had even left port.
“We are concerned that New Zealand animals will be facing similar issues on board this ship.”
“In light of the fact that live exports always pose animal welfare challenges, the Government must announce an immediate ban.”
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– TVNZ’s ‘Sunday’ programme revealed widespread suffering on one voyage of the Yangtze Harmony, which left New Plymouth on 19 August 2020. “By day three, the bedding was gone, meaning the cattle had to stand for a prolonged period, up to 14 days. Up to 80 cattle got their heads stuck under pen railings. There were broken legs, infections, significant numbers of lame cattle, on an overstocked boat on rough seas. All contributed to 49 mortalities on board, and another 14 deaths during the cattle’s first month in China.”
– ’Sunday’ also revealed that post-voyage reports noted serious welfare issues such as overcrowding and animals dying of trampling and suffocation. There was a shocking report of a peak ‘abortion storm,’ with 13 cases noted. Veterinarian and animal welfare expert Dr John Hellstrom stated, “Animals don’t start aborting for stress-related reasons until they’re pretty stressed.”
– The Government began a review of the live export trade in June 2019. This was after SAFE raised concerns about the treatment of New Zealand cows in Sri Lanka, which was subsequently reported on by ABC News.
– Last year, SAFE broke the news that the live export ship Gulf Livestock 1 had capsized and sunk off the coast of China. The tragedy saw 5,867 New Zealand cows drown, and 41 crew members, including two New Zealanders, were lost at sea.
– Recent analysis from The Guardian has found that live export ships are twice as likely to be lost at sea as cargo vessels.
– In 2003, Saudi Arabia rejected a shipment of over 57,000 Australian and New Zealand sheep on board the MV Cormo Express on alleged disease grounds and refused to unload them. After two months at sea and the ship being unable to find a port, around 6,000 of the sheep died on board. Following this disaster, the New Zealand Government suspended the export of live sheep for slaughter. In 2007, a conditional prohibition on the export of livestock (cattle, sheep, deer and goats) for slaughter was introduced.
– Under the Animal Welfare (Export of Livestock for Slaughter) Regulations 2016, live animals cannot be exported for slaughter without the approval of the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries. Approval may only be granted if the Director-General considers that the risks to New Zealand’s trade reputation can be adequately managed. There have been no livestock exports for slaughter since 2008.
– Animals exported for breeding purposes and their young will still eventually be slaughtered, potentially by methods that would not be legal in New Zealand.