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Review of live export trade open for public submissions

Review of controversial live export trade open for public submissions

The review of the controversial live export trade is now open for submissions from the public.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor ordered the review following an ABC News exposé which revealed that New Zealand and Australian cows were sick and dying in Sri Lanka. Since then efforts by live animal corporations to ship animals out of the country have increased, with twice as many cows exported so far in 2019 than in all of 2018.

SAFE Campaigns Officer Mona Oliver says live export is of massive public concern.

"The public is rightfully concerned about live animal exports, and the trade has only become more secretive," says Oliver.

"The Government is clearly ashamed of live export."

Last week a live export ship containing over 14,000 sheep capsized off the coast of Romania. Latest reports indicate less than 300 sheep were able to be rescued. The Ministry for Primary Industries has remained silent on how they’d manage a crisis such as this.

"If a similar incident occurred to a live export ship leaving New Zealand, it is quite unlikely that we’d be able to respond adequately." says Oliver.

The discussion paper for the live export review proposes four options, which include the Minister’s preferred option of a conditional ban, and a total prohibition of the trade. The scope of the review only includes the export of cows, deer, sheep and goats however.

"This review ignores 99% of the animals that suffer in the live export industry, most of which are day-old chicks."

"Millions of day-old chicks are exported every year. These chicks are then raised in countries with lower animal welfare standards than New Zealand and suffer just like cows and sheep."

"We’ve already effectively banned the live export of cows, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter, so we know we can act to protect the welfare of New Zealand animals. The Minister must close these loopholes and completely prohibit the live export trade of all farmed animals."

We're working towards a world where animals are understood and respected in such a way that they are no longer exploited, abused or made to suffer.

Notes for editor:

- Footage of live export, including from New Zealand.

- In April, ABC News exposed the plight of hundreds of New Zealand- and Australian-supplied cows found to be diseased, sick and dying in Sri Lanka. Live-export corporation Wellard Ltd. shipped 5,000 New Zealand and Australian cows in a deal with the Sri Lankan Government to set up dairy farms.

- In 2003, the Cormo Express was rejected by Saudi Arabia and continued to sail trying to find another port to unload 58,000 sheep. After 80 gruelling days, a mechanical breakdown and a fire onboard, the sheep were unloaded on 24 October 2002 - by which time nearly 6,000 animals had died.

- ABC News exposé of Sri Lankan Dairy Scheme.

- SAFE edit of Sri Lankan Dairy Scheme exposé.

- High-resolution images from Sri Lankan Dairy Scheme exposé.

- The live export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter was banned in 2003. However, it is still legal to export these animals for breeding purposes.

- Animals exported for breeding purposes will eventually be slaughtered, potentially by means that are too cruel to be legal in New Zealand.


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