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Protect animals and not just trade image

30 October 2007

Protect animals and not just trade image, say Greens

The Green Party is calling on the Government to consider the transport of live animals and not just slaughter conditions at the end of their journey, following the Minister of Agriculture's announcement that he is reviewing the trade in live animal exports.

Green Party Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says that while she is supportive of the Agriculture Minister's move to address the inhumane treatment of New Zealand sheep on arrival, he must also address the appalling conditions that animals endure on board ships.

"These animals will still suffer many weeks of sweltering heat, sea sickness and infections on the way to the Middle East just so that they can be slaughtered "humanely" at the end of their journey. Many animals die en route and the others suffer in terrible conditions. Ships encounter storms and delays that are often unavoidable and impact severely on the animals' welfare," Ms Kedgley said.

"It is interesting that in the same week that the Royal New Zealand SPCA issued its annual 'List of Shame', the Government has failed to recognise that exporting live sheep for slaughter breaches the Animal Welfare Act which stipulates that humans must not cause animals to suffer. As such, any live export trade originating in New Zealand should be prohibited," Ms Kedgley says.

"Mr Anderton's concerns appear to primarily stem from an interest in protecting New Zealand's trading image, not the welfare of animals, and this leaves important animal welfare issues unresolved, particularly the suffering endured at sea," Ms Kedgley says.

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"If we are going to review the regulations then we must address the issues surrounding transportation as well."

The Green Party has been campaigning for many years for an end to the inhumane trade in live animals. The Green Party encourages exchanging breeding material through semen, egg and embryo import and export and finding alternatives to the transport of live farm animals for slaughter where the journey exceeds eight hours.

ENDS

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