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Livestock shipment to Mexico inhumane

29 August 2005

Livestock shipment to Mexico inhumane

Green MP and Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling for the Government to halt a shipment of live cattle on board the Devon Express, which is due to leave the Port of Napier tonight at 10.00pm.

Ms Kedgley says MAF is allowing a shipment of cattle to go ahead despite not meeting its welfare recommendations, an unacceptable move that is highly likely to lead to severe suffering for the animals.

Tonight, the Devon Express will leave Napier for Manzanillo in Mexico carrying cattle to be used for breeding purposes. The ship, a mere 1900 tonnes in weight, is an ex-general freighter built in 1954 that was to have been scrapped in 1984, but was refitted as a livestock carrier. (See www.shipspotting.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=98254&cid=28).

In July 2003, 120 cattle died aboard the livestock freighter Cimbria, a 2000-tonne vessel en route from Napier to Manzanillo. As a result of its investigation into that ill-fated voyage, MAF recommended that ships used for crossing the Pacific with livestock should be larger and should only carry livestock to Central and South America before April to avoid bad weather

"The current shipment, which has been approved by MAF, fails on both of those counts. It is smaller vessel and we are well past April, so it is likely the shipment would encounter bad weather. While New Zealand is experiencing a series of unusually warm ridges at the moment, the Pacific east of the country is experiencing a series of lows. These poor animals may well encounter very rough seas and suffer terribly.

"If these animals were in New Zealand, instead of the high seas, experiencing such suffering would be a breach of the Animal Welfare Act, yet the Government allows such suffering to occur by granting live export certificates under the Act.

"Embryo, egg and semen transfer are all relatively straightforward techniques that cause minimal discomfort to livestock or are conducted under local anaesthetic. We should not allow exports of live animals by sea when we have alternative humane methods," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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