End the cruel live export trade

End the cruel live export trade

The cruel live export trade

New Zealanders take pride in valuing animal welfare. Our Animal Welfare Act was amended in 2015 to enshrine in law that animals are sentient: they have the capacity to feel pain and joy, sadness and pleasure.  

When our Government approves the export of animals to other countries with lower animal welfare, transport and slaughter standards, New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act is undermined. SAFE is calling on the Government to end live export 

Most countries that New Zealand exports farmed animals to do not require stunning before slaughter. This means that after their time in a factory farm overseas, New Zealand animals may have their throats slit while they are still alive. At least one country we export to does not allow euthanasia, meaning sick animals may spend days or weeks dying slowly. 

SAFE launched a petition to end live export after finding out about the harrowing animal welfare and human disaster in Sri Lanka. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our volunteers and staff we collected over 30,000 signatures 

We presented our petition to Parliament on the sixteenth anniversary of the Cormo Express disaster, when six thousand sheep died on board a live export ship. This loss of life shocked New Zealand and the world and led the then Labour Government to ban the live export of cows, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter. However, in the 16 years since the disaster, due to legal loopholes and a lack of rules protecting all other farmed animal species, the Government has continued to export millions of animals every year. 

Parliament will now consider our petition. As part of this process they will invite SAFE to present evidence to support our petition. The committee will then provide official advice to the Government.  

Government review

In June 2019, the Minister of Agriculture announced he would be reviewing live animal exports. This was following the harrowing exposé where New Zealand animals were found to be suffering and dying in Sri Lanka.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is undertaking this review and considering multiple options. The review is considering five options that range from no change to a total ban on the live export of cows, sheep, goats and deer. The review, however, is ignoring all other farmed animals and fish, which are exported in their millions each year.

The Government needs to receive a strong and clear message that caring Kiwis want an end to the live export of all farmed animals. MPI will be asking for public submissions on the review. Watch this space for tips and we’ll provide you with a guide on how to have your say!

Live export ships

This year, seven live export ships have left our shores each filled with thousands of New Zealand animals. There are significant risks to the welfare of farmed animals transported on board ships, especially over long distances. The unnatural diet, rough seas, high stocking densities and heat stress all have a negative effect on these animals, with some suffering from injury and others dying on board.

Conditions overseas 

Animal exports can cross many territorial boundaries and our Government admits it has no power to enforce New Zealand welfare standards for animals taken overseas.  

In February 2019, the European Union voted to ban all live exports of animals to countries that do not meet the EU’s animal welfare transport standards. 

Little is known about where New Zealand animals end up and what standard of care they receive once they disembark the live export ships or planes. In the 2019 exposé in Sri Lanka, where hundreds of cows were found sick and dying, it was revealed that the lives of animals after they have been exported can involve high levels of suffering.  

The struggling farmers were sold a dream by Australian live export corporation Wellard, and these farmers are now struggling to keep the animals alive and reporting that they haven’t received the vital support they were promised. 

New Zealand animals are put at risk when they are exported to countries with lower animal welfare, transport and slaughter standards than we have in New Zealand. 

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