Millions In Farmer Income Put At Risk With Open-Ended Review
Widened Terms of Reference and a longer timeframe for review of the safety of live animal transportation may lose the industry, and the nation, close to $200 million.
“The safe shipping of people and animals to their destinations is hugely important to our trade. We support this part of the review and need to learn how whatever happened to the ship can be prevented in future exports.
“However, a necessary review of ship safety following a maritime disaster has inexplicably morphed into an unnecessary wider review into the welfare of animals. “
The review may require cancellation of the close to $200 million in contracts between now and December.
Currently 27,000 cattle supplied by New Zealand farmers are waiting to be exported. The cost to the industry is approximately $300,000 per day to feed the cattle and for ships waiting at ports to be loaded to meet signed and sealed export contracts.
“The Government has already been assessing the animal welfare factors in breeding stock export, through a separate review they have conducted over the last twelve months.
“This was a maritime disaster - the first in 25 years for a livestock ship out of NZ or Australia, and it should be investigated as such. The welfare of the animals during export voyages is a different issue from the safety of people and animals following the capsize of Gulf Livestock 1.
“Those farmers need all opportunities to maximise stock sales and reduce wastage. Removing the ability for them to sell their livestock to export will weigh very heavily on their financial situation on top of a bad drought year and an impending historic economic recession.”