October 4, 2022
New Zealand will ban livestock exports from April 2023
New Zealand has passed a bill that bans livestock exports from the country from April 2023, following major incidents involving sunk livestock export ships, The Guardian reported.
Damien O'Connor, New Zealand's Agriculture Minister, said the new law protects the farmers' reputations. It comes two years after a typhoon struck Gulf Livestock 1, killing 41 crew members and 6,000 cattle.
A live export ship sank in Sudan earlier this year, killing over 15,000 sheep, and 14,000 sheep perished in a capsize in 2020. Three months of stranding 3,000 cattle at sea in 2021 resulted in many of them dying, starving, or becoming fatally dehydrated.
Even a best-case scenario journey for animals through New Zealand is frequently challenging due to the country's extreme isolation.
Animals in New Zealand spend a lot of time at sea, which increases their vulnerability to heat stress and other welfare-related risks, O'Connor said.
He said the travel times and the trip through the tropics to the markets in the northern hemisphere will always impose challenges.
On April 30, 2023, all livestock exports from the nation will come to an end by sea. Last year, New Zealand exported 134,722 cattle, or 0.6% of all exports from the primary sector. Animals from New Zealand are only exported for breeding, not for slaughter.
The Green Party and proponents of animal rights have praised the decision. Chlöe Swarbrick, the Greens' spokesperson for animal welfare, said this could not have come soon enough as animals have suffered for years in live export.
The opposition National party opposed the bill as they said it was a disproportionate" and "ideological" response to the sinking of the stock ship Gulf Livestock 1.
Britain announced plans to outlaw the export of live animals from England and Wales for slaughter and fattening in 2020, but the plan has not yet been implemented.
The Australian government's commitment to ending the trade was recently reaffirmed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, but said that the trade would not be phased out before 2025.
- The Guardian