Animal welfare: New Zealand bans live exports
Animal welfare

New Zealand bans live exports

Imago / agefotostock
Breeding cattle from New Zealand are in demand on the world market, but may no longer be exported in the future.
Breeding cattle from New Zealand are in demand on the world market, but may no longer be exported in the future.

NEW ZEALAND, Wellington. Animals for slaughter are already banned from being shipped abroad. From 2023, the export of breeding animals will also be prohibited.

After a transition period of two years, New Zealand will completely ban live exports of farm animals by ship from 2023. "At the heart of our decision is maintaining New Zealand's reputation as a nation for high animal welfare standards. We need to stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is increasingly under the microscope," Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said in Wellington.

Following the sinking of the livestock ship Gulf Livestock 1 on its way to China in September 2020, which killed around 5,800 cows and 41 crew members, a review of live exports was launched and is now set to be phased out. This will affect exports of breeding and productive cows, which are primarily shipped to China. Live exports of sheep, goats and cattle for slaughter are already banned. O'Connor stressed that improvements in animal welfare have been achieved in recent years in sea transport, but the long travel times and lack of animal welfare checks in the destination country remain a problem.

„This decision will hit some farmers, exporters and importers hard“
Damien O'Connor, Agriculture Minister
But live exports accounted for only 0.2% of New Zealand's agricultural export revenue. Cow exports, which have been ongoing since 2015, had risen to a high of 113,000 animals last year, generating export revenue of € 148 mill., according to the National Farmers Union. Federated Farmers spokesman Wayne Langford said he was surprised by the export ban because farmers placed a high value on animal welfare. "The Farmers Union has no information about violations of the high standards for live exports," the spokesman said.

Other representatives of the profession pointed to low loss rates during transport and criticized the fact that live exports from New Zealand were now being replaced by exports from countries with lower animal welfare standards. Animal welfare groups, on the other hand, welcomed the government's decision. "This is a significant moment in our history that other governments around the world, including Australia, must follow," said World Animal Protection director in New Zealand Simone Clarke. She said the live animal trade is "immoral."

Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE
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