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192 lives lost on export shipment


1 JULY 2015 | MEDIA RELEASE
192 lives lost on export shipment


Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is appalled that 191 sheep and one cow perished on board a controversial live export shipment to Mexico. The shipment of a reported 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle was the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.

“192 animals have died and it begs the question, how many more will die on the next stage of their journey?” says SAFE’s executive director, Hans Kriek.

The sheep are being transported by truck for 1000 kilometres in 30-degree temperatures to a farm near Mexico City from where they will be distributed to smaller farms. It was reported that some sheep also died at the feedlots as they waited to board.

There are no reports yet on why the animals died, but it is known that on live export ships a number of animals die from illness or starvation. Some suffer from ‘inanition’ – not recognising the ship food of pellets as food as they were previously used to being on pasture.

Although the shipment is purportedly for breeding purposes rather than for slaughter, which is illegal, SAFE says this latest shipment ignores the spirit of the ban on live export since the animals will still eventually be slaughtered in Mexico after they are no longer required for breeding, most likely in conditions that would be deemed cruel and illegal in this country.

“We are deeply concerned about what will happen to these animals next,” says Hans. “The journey will have been both terrifying and stressful for the sheep especially as they are already nervous animals by nature. New Zealand has effectively washed its hands of them and has absolutely no control over their treatment now”.

Last week it was also revealed that the secret deal in which the government flew pregnant sheep to a farm in Saudi Arabia had disastrous animal welfare consequences with 75% of NZ lambs dying from starvation, diarrhea and animal husbandry problems.

SAFE is calling for a ban on all live exports for breeding or slaughter.


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