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Stock Crossing The Cook Strait

24 Hour Blitz On Welfare Of Stock Crossing The Cook Strait

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry carried out a 24-hour blitz last week, checking on the welfare of livestock waiting to be loaded onto the inter-island ferries, at Wellington and Picton.

The blitz was a follow up on a similar operation that ran earlier this year (January 23-25). It focused on animal welfare issues associated with the ferries, transport trucks and stock assembly and driving areas.

Senior Animal Welfare Inspector Earl Culham says the objectives of the follow up were to identify any incidents that did not comply with the Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Animals Transported within New Zealand and the Animal Welfare Act.

Mr Culham says MAF Enforcement Unit staff checked the duration a loaded truck spent in transit, stock crate design, stock inspection, allocation of parking for stock trucks in marshalling areas at Picton and Wellington, unloading delays at meat plants, and the preparation of stock for long-haul transport.

"We also wanted to ascertain any change in the degree of knowledge of, and compliance with, the Animal Welfare Act since the first part of the exercise in January," he says. "We were also interested in the level of knowledge that exists in the transport welfare code amongst drivers and transport operators. Mr Culham says that while no welfare offences were found in January, it was clear that further education was required.

He says the blitz highlighted a few animal welfare concerns, with two cattle having to be euthanased.

The cattle were seized at the Wellington wharf after they had been turned away from the meat processors when neither could get out of the transport trucks. An investigation is underway into how the animals were injured.

Mr Culham also says that some meat companies were using the transport stock trucks as their stockyard and leaving the animals on board until they were required. He says that some of the animals had already been travelling on the trucks for 12 hours and should have been unloaded.


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