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New Zealand to end livestock exports by sea due to animal welfare concerns

19 Comments
By Praveen Menon

New Zealand said on Wednesday it will stop the export of livestock by sea following a transition period of up to two years, citing animal welfare concerns for a decision that will affect major trading partners including Australia and China.

The ban was welcomed by animal welfare groups, but the peak farming industry body said it was caught by surprise and was unaware of any breaches of standards.

Live exports by sea represent about 0.2% of New Zealand's primary sector exports revenue since 2015 has averaged around NZ$60 million ($42.32 million) per year from 2015 to 2019. New Zealand exported 113,285 cattle by sea last year.

"We have not been able to guarantee the safety of these animals at sea and that's an unacceptable risk for New Zealand,"

Agriculture minister Damien O'Connor told reporters, adding that key trading partners were informed of the decision.

"I recognize the importance of our trade relationships with our international partners and we're committed to working with them as we transition away from the shipment of livestock," he said.

Asked if there were concerns the move would upset China, a top importer of live cattle, O'Connor said: "This is not about China. It's about animal welfare and our reputation."

Simone Clarke, executive director of World Animal Protection New Zealand, said the decision was a "significant moment in our history for animals, one which other governments around the world must now follow."

However, Wayne Langford, a spokesman for Federated Farmers of New Zealand, said the industry body "has no information about any breaches of the high standards relating to livestock exports."

New Zealand said last year it was reviewing live exports when it introduced interim measures following the capsizing of a ship bound for China that killed nearly 6,000 cows and 41 of the 43 crew members.

O'Connor said despite improvements to processes, the long sea voyages to northern hemisphere markets continued to pose animal welfare challenges.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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While we're at it, can exports of live horses to Japan also stop?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Aren't these animals going to be killed anyway? Is this just about sparing them the stress of being packed on a ship?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

While we're at it, can exports of live horses to Japan also stop?

Hear Hear!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Interesting. I support a focus on animal welfare. As a practical matter will the animals be slaughtered in NZ? Will live animals be sent by air?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Do they realize that these animals have some of the highest and best living conditions in transit compared to being on a farm. For example regular high quality feeding and vet checks to the point its almost intrusive to the animal, do they understand the conditions that these animals are held are so clean and well maintained to avoid protocol breeches. This is getting out of hand, half these "animal welfare" activists are just complaining for the sake of complaining at this point. If were so concerned about our exports of Livestock and meat to these countries it would be better to focus our attention on our meat plants having the funding to deal with potential Coli bacterial checks and our farms being able to afford the tools to keep the animals in good condition.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Reasonable. No need to cause the animals any more stress than is necessary.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

No one gives a damn about the crew ..........

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Agreeeeeeed with @MH

Also folks, horses are considered food live stock here. I go with the flow of any country I visit on what to eat as acceptable.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Do they realize that these animals have some of the highest and best living conditions in transit compared to being on a farm. 

Do you mean feed lot when you say farm? I ask because the two are totally different and you seem to be describing a feed lot.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

New Zealand to end livestock exports by sea due to animal welfare concerns

Anyone who has watched a documentary about those animal transports will agree that is a good move. These transports are hell on earth, not defensible for anyone with a conscience.

Usually I am critical of woke NZ, but here they are right.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Reckless

Interesting. I support a focus on animal welfare. As a practical matter will the animals be slaughtered in NZ? Will live animals be sent by air

I assume the animals will now be slaughtered locally, under controlled conditions, and exported as frozen meat. That is absolutely doable and the animal torturers in China and the ME who want it otherwise will have to live with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"We have not been able to guarantee the safety of these animals at sea and that's an unacceptable risk for New Zealand,"

So they have no problem with them being slaughtered after they reach their destination, but only when they die of an accident in transit?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This could be relevant.

September 2020

A cattle transport with 45 crew (Filipino, N.Z and Australian) and 6000 head of cattle went down off the southern coast of Japan.

Only one crew member survived.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NjuVZbpcU0

3 ( +3 / -0 )

NZ is leading the world in every aspect oh human and Animal dignity, I am moving to New Z. as soon as I am able to.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The two-year transition period will give the growers time to shift their operations to Australia, which doesn't have such a ban. The end result will be a tiny reduction in the New Zealand economy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do they realize that these animals have some of the highest and best living conditions in transit compared to being on a farm.

Yeah, sure. I bet they travel in first class.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No need to cause the animals any more stress than is necessary.

No need to stress them more than is needed, yeah okay...

New Zealand was one of those countries moaning about Japanese and Norwegians etc catching whales no?

If New Zealand were serious, they would also be joining the sustainable whaling nations in catching some whales, to a sustainable extent. There is no need for farming at all, let alone live export, of whales, which otherwise freely roam the oceans.

No one of us would choose to be a New Zealand farm cow over a free range whale. That’s animal welfare - freedom, until the final moments of life.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The UK government stated in December that it will ban the export of live animals for slaughter or fattening by the end of 2021.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

therougou

So they have no problem with them being slaughtered after they reach their destination, but only when they die of an accident in transit?

Well, the NZ government foolishly assumed that China and ME countries have similar rules about humane animal slaughter as NZ does. But at least they recognized the sea transport as the torture that it is.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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