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Live export plans will not be tolerated

July 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.

 

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