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SAFE condemns massive live sheep export to Mexico

10 JUNE 2015

SAFE condemns massive live sheep export to Mexico

Animal advocacy organisation, SAFE is condemning the secret shipment of 50,000 sheep and 3000 cattle to Mexico on a live export shipment from Timaru, the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.

"For these animals, a stressful, terrifying weeks-long ocean journey lies ahead with a huge potential for serious suffering,” says executive director Hans Kriek. "No matter what conditions are placed on exporters, live shipments cannot be anything but cruel, and the potentially bad treatment of the animals in the country of destination further adds to their suffering.”

The export of live animals for slaughter has been banned in New Zealand since 2003, after 5000 sheep died on an Australian shipment bound for Saudi Arabia, causing outrage amongst the public. This shipment is purportedly for breeding purposes and is expected to depart from Timaru shortly.

“We would question whether the animals really are going for breeding purposes as it is an extremely large shipment,” says Mr Kriek. “Even if that is the case these animals are going to suffer and hundreds will likely die. Many sheep do not adapt to the conditions and food onboard and end up sick or starving to death. We are also very concerned about the animals eventual slaughter, as countries of destination often use slaughter methods that would be considered cruel, and are illegal in New Zealand.”

In Australia, more than 2,500,000 sheep, cattle, and goats have died on live export ships since 1981.

“Live export is absolutely appalling. It is shameful. Every exporter in New Zealand should be very concerned, because this has real potential to damage New Zealand's reputation,” says Mr Kriek. “We urge exporters and the public to speak out strongly against this cruel trade.”


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