Live export trade in New Zealand

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Live Export in New Zealand

On 14 April 2021, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor announced a ban on the export of live animals by sea – with a ‘wind down’ period of up to two years. On 16 July 2021, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) advised SAFE that the export of live animals by sea would be allowed to continue until 30 April 2023.

SAFE is pleased to see the Government taking animal welfare seriously, and for taking this world-leading step forward for animals.

While live export by sea is drawing to an end in Aotearoa, the ban will not apply to the millions of animals exported by air every year. SAFE will continue to campaign for a complete and permanent ban on the export of all live animals – whether by sea or air.

Take Action

Protect the ban on Live Export

National and Act are seeking to reverse the ban on live animal exports, posing a significant risk to animal welfare. You can make a difference by showing Christopher Luxon (National Party Leader) and David Seymour (ACT Party leader). Email them today.

Live Export FAQs

Two years ago, the government announced a ban on live animal export by sea, which will come into effect on April 30th, 2023. Disappointingly, exporting live animals by air was not included with this ban and will be allowed to continue.

New Zealand exports goats, llamas, pigs, alpacas, bees, deer, horses, and millions of day-old baby chicks by air every year. We also export sea creatures such as longfin eels – who are “at risk” native animals.

2.8 million day-old chicks are airlifted from New Zealand to overseas markets every year. China takes the biggest proportion, followed by Bangladesh, Fiji, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Because eels are not counted as individuals (they are simply weighed in bulk), there’s no way of knowing how many longfin eels New Zealand exports overseas.

As a culturally iconic animal, Tuna are not only historically important to Māori, they are our taonga today. We should be treating them, and all other animals, with more respect.

Live export by air carries many of the same risks and animal welfare concerns as live export by sea.

Unlike animals exported by sea who must have a qualified stockperson present, animals exported by air face the journey alone. MPI do not require official oversight of the animals during flight to ensure they are protected from potential injury and death.

Further, regardless of the method of transport, most animals exported from New Zealand end up in countries with lower animal welfare standards and are likely to spend their lives in intensive farms. They will eventually be slaughtered, usually through methods that are not legal in New Zealand.

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Take action for animals exported by air

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Animals need an independent body that enforces animal welfare.

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