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Ban Cuts Half Billion Export Earnings Annually And Creates Animal Welfare Tragedy

The Government’s decision to ban exports of livestock for breeding is morally and practically unjustified, according to the Animal Genetics Trade Association, as it will financially devastate many farmers and require the premature slaughter of thousands of livestock annually.

“This is an ill-informed, massively consequential decision for the nation, to earn short-term political brownie points from a few activists,” said Dave Hayman, spokesperson for the Animal Genetics Trade Association.

“This is an immoral ban against a trade being conducted humanely, with world leading standards. There is no morality in removing half a billion dollars from our economy and forcing the early deaths of up to 150,000 animals a year.

“More than 5,000 farmers will be directly worse off. They need options to maximise stock value and reduce wastage. They lose a vital revenue source that helps them offset lost earnings from bad drought years, low beef prices, and increased compliance costs.”

“The loss of foreign income will deeply hurt New Zealand’s economy, particularly if China takes offense and threatens our Free Trade Agreement. The nation’s recovery is reliant on the agricultural sector bringing in foreign cash to pay down the debt incurred by our Covid response.”

Mr Hayman said the export trade was responding to international demand for livestock to help feed and clothe nations. He said China was making massive investments in their farming infrastructure, based on the best American and European on-farm practices.

“The ban prevents New Zealand carrying out its moral duty to help other nations feed their citizens. It will likely force our customers to source alternative supply of animals from nations that have much lower animal welfare and transport standards.”

Mr Hayman said the transportation of animals from New Zealand is governed by the strictest animal welfare standards in the world. The welfare of each travelling animal is independently verified by vets on behalf of Ministry of Primary Industries. 99.9% of the animals arrive at their destinations in healthy condition.

“The export trade largely uses surplus animals generated by the farming sector. 150,000 surplus calves will now be slaughtered in New Zealand each year, rather than moved to other countries to contribute as breeding cows.”

He said the industry would use the two-year period before the ban comes into effect to remind the Government of the moral and economic importance of the trade to New Zealand.

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