Live export plans will not be toleratedJuly 4th, 2016
Animal advocacy group SAFE is outraged at Government plans to export large numbers of live sheep to Saudi Arabia where the animals would be slaughtered under conditions illegal in New Zealand.
This weekend, current affairs show The Nation exposed questionable dealings between our Government and Saudi business interests that would use loopholes in animal welfare legislation to export live sheep to Saudi in order to clear the way for a free trade deal with that country.
New Zealand currently prohibits the export of live animals for slaughter but allows export for breeding purposes. Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show well-advanced negotiations that could see thousands of New Zealand pregnant ewes exported to Saudi under the guise of ‘breeding’. Their lambs would be killed to supply Saudi markets and nothing would prevent the ewes themselves being slaughtered once their lambs were born.
“Starting up the live export slaughter trade by disguising it as a trade for breeding is despicable,” says SAFE Executive Director Hans Kriek.
Live export for slaughter is banned because of the horrendous conditions the animals must endure on board the ships and because the countries of destination slaughter the animals without stunning them first. This is considered cruel and is illegal in New Zealand.
“These concerns are equally applicable to sheep being exported for so-called breeding,” says Mr Kriek. “Ocean journeys are very hard on pregnant ewes and many will inevitably die. These animals will also eventually have their throats cut while fully conscious. The willingness of our Government to allow New Zealand animals to be brutalised like this shows that they do not take animal welfare seriously.”
The New Zealand live export for slaughter ban is internationally recognised and applauded as a powerful animal welfare measure to prevent unnecessary suffering. Should a large scale ‘pretend breeding’ trade be started up, New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter would be in tatters.
SAFE will strongly oppose any moves to send New Zealand livestock to the Middle East and will seek assurances from the Government that any plans to do so will be abandoned immediately.