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"It’s Long Overdue" - SAFE Urges The Government To Release The Live Export Review

Animal rights organisation SAFE is calling on the Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor to release the live export review which he started in June last year.

Four live export ships have arrived in New Zealand in the past fortnight. These shipments cleared the ‘backlog’ of approximately 24,000 cows that have been in quarantine since the Gulf Livestock 1 tragedy. The capsize and sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 two months ago prompted a temporary suspension of live exports.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says the Government can’t sit on its hands any longer.

"Live export ships were recently met with fierce opposition upon their arrival in Napier, Taranaki and Timaru," said Ashton.

"Any further delay in the live export review can no longer be justified. Our message to the Minister is to get it finished."

Ashton said she expects the Minister to recommend a ban on live exports when he takes the review to Cabinet.

The Agriculture Minister announced the review of the live export trade in June 2019, following an ABC News exposé that showed New Zealand and Australian supplied cows suffering in Sri Lanka.

The review was delayed due to the emergence of COVID-19, and the Minister said its release should be expected after the election.

"We have a new Government now, and the Minister has had plenty of time to get his feet under the table with a new team."

"Caring Kiwis want certainty that this cruel trade will end."

SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.

We're creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.

Notes for editors:

- Images of cows in holding pens on the Gulf Livestock 1 on a voyage in 2019.

- Footage of a live export ship loading cows at PrimePort Timaru.

- New analysis from The Guardian has found that live export ships are twice as likely to be lost at sea as cargo vessels.

- 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 and their young will still eventually be slaughtered, potentially by means too cruel to be legal in New Zealand.

- The Government has been reviewing the live-export trade since June 2019. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has expressed his preference for a conditional ban on cattle exports.

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