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NZ must stop live animal exports, say Greens

NZ must stop live animal exports, say Greens

Sue Kedgley is calling on the Government to ban the trade in live sheep exports for slaughter, saying the practice breaches the Animal Welfare Act by causing sheep to endure many weeks of suffering in cramped conditions and sweltering heat.

Ms Kedgley, the Green spokesperson for Animal Welfare, said news today that the 50,000 sheep on board the Australian ship of shame the Cormo Express are to be slaughtered at sea and dumped overboard is an indictment on the cruel practice of live animal exports.

"Exporting live sheep for slaughter, causing them to endure weeks of suffering confined in pens on ships, breaches the Animal Welfare Act which stipulates that humans must not cause animals to suffer," said Ms Kedgley. "As such, any trade originating in New Zealand should be prohibited.

"Humans suffer when we travel 10 hours by plane, barely able to move. Imagine what sheep must experience when they are confined in pens on open decks for weeks on end.

"Many sheep die from sweltering heat, sea sickness and infections. All of this just so that they can be slaughtered at the end of their journey."

Ms Kedgley said she was horrified to learn that 43,229 sheep had already been exported for slaughter this year. "Most New Zealanders have no idea that this cruel trade is taking place."

She said she was concerned that while MAF has confirmed in response to her parliamentary questions that it has put on hold an application to export a further 65,000 sheep to Saudi Arabia, following the recent rejection of the current Australian shipment, it is still leaving the door wide open for this grotesque trade to continue.

"There is no doubt that Australia's reputation as food exporting country has suffered from the media exposure of the suffering the sheep on board the Cormo Express, and we must protect our reputation as a quality food producer.

"But New Zealand must go further than that, and prohibit the trade in live sheep for export, which clearly breaches the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act.

"We banned the export of live lambs for slaughter in 1997, and now we should ban the export of sheep. What's the logic in allowing mothers to experience pain and suffering but not their babies?" Ms Kedgley asked.

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