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Live export trade in New Zealand

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Live Export in New Zealand

On 30 April 2023, New Zealand enacted a world-leading ban on the live export of cows, sheep, deer and goats by sea.

Unfortunately, the ban does 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.

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Live Export FAQs

A ban on the live export of cows, sheep, deer and goats came 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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As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.