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Feds: Live Export Ban 'surprising'

The government’s announcement this morning that live export of animals will be banned after a transition period of up to two years has come as a surprise to Federated Farmers, Feds animal welfare spokesperson Wayne Langford says.

"The Minister has said this is all about protecting New Zealand’s reputation as the most ethical producer of food in the world.

"Those farmers who support livestock exports would point out our trade in this sector operates to some of the highest animal welfare standards anywhere - standards that were further bolstered after last year’s Heron Report," Wayne said.

"Our farmers care deeply about animal welfare. The government has seen fit to bring in this ban but Federated Farmers has no information about any breaches of the high standards relating to livestock exports."

The Heron Report, which followed the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 in a cyclone last September, led to further requirements including:

- focused maritime inspection of livestock carrier ships entering New Zealand;

- restricting stocking density on vessels to 90 percent of former limits;

- increased requirements for voyage reporting, including daily veterinary reports during voyages;

- increased minimum fodder requirements that ensure at least 20 per cent of feed is available for unplanned delays during the voyage.

"There is a contractual relationship with the companies receiving livestock from New Zealand at the export destination to have minimum standards in place, and these are monitored for 30 days after arrival of the animals," Wayne said.

"But it is true that after then, New Zealand has no control over the future welfare of those animals."

The trade is worth around $250 million in export receipts.

"The one encouraging aspect of the government’s announcement is the transition period of up to two years to enable those farmers with commitments in place to honour those commitments, and consider their options once live exports are off the table," Wayne said.

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