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News Blog Articles Damien O’Connor slow to do review of sick and dying cows sent to Sri Lanka
Damien O’Connor slow to do review of sick and dying cows sent to Sri Lanka

Damien O’Connor slow to do review of sick and dying cows sent to Sri Lanka

April 4th, 2019

SAFE is urging Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor to urgently ban the export of cows after he turned a blind eye to sick and dying animals in Sri Lanka.

An exposé broadcast on ABC News in Australia on April 5, 2019, showed harrowing footage of cows sick and dying in the Sri Lankan heat. In 2017, Australian live export corporation Wellard shipped 5,000 of these pregnant cows from New Zealand and Australia, 10 per cent of which have since died.

SAFE alerted O’Connor to the emerging disaster in January 2019 but he chose not to intervene. Wellard is planning to export a further 15,000 cows to Sri Lanka.

SAFE Ambassador Hans Kriek said the Minister needs to stop sitting on his hands.

“O’Connor has a choice. He can choose whether New Zealand continues to export vulnerable cows into such appalling conditions,” said Mr Kriek.

“The harrowing images from ABC News last night show cows collapsed and dying, and others being thrown into pits to be buried. Wellard is planning to export a further 15,000 cows, but O’Connor can choose to protect New Zealand’s reputation and refuse to export any more cows.”

When SAFE alerted O’Connor to the emerging situation in Sri Lanka, he said he was comfortable with the wellbeing of live animals being exported and has no plans to stop the export of breeding animals.

“Our Government cannot wash its hands of the animal welfare disaster in Sri Lanka. By allowing corporate profits to be placed above animal welfare, New Zealand is complicit in the suffering of those vulnerable cows in far-flung countries,” said Mr Kriek.

“We hope after seeing this shocking footage, O’Connor will choose to reverse his position, stated in March, that he has no current plans to stop the export of breeding animals.”

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