Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: SAFE For Animals
SAFE is disappointed by an announcement from MPI today that exports of livestock by sea will continue until 30 April 2023.
SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says they received the news via email which only outlined brief details around the transition from when the Government first made the announcement to put a ban in place in April of this year.
“We are extremely disappointed in this outcome and have grave concerns for the tens of thousands of animals who will be exported during this two-year wind down period both during their journey and at their destination.”
Ashton says the world is watching as our Government turns a blind eye to the suffering of these animals. “Given that the decision to ban live export by sea was prompted by animal welfare concerns and the risk to New Zealand’s International reputation, how can the Government allow this trade to continue for two more years?”
Ashton says the Government has given no reassurance that new contracts won’t be approved during this time or how further risks can be mitigated. “This leads us to believe that the industry will continue in full force in the lead up to the ban. We urge the Government to decline all new applications for live animal export, reconsider this timeframe and cease live export by sea at the earliest opportunity.”
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Notes for editors:
– 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 at 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.