MediaCom

Live Export Cruelty Continues Under ‘Compassionate’ Coalition Government

As another live shipment of animals leaves from the Port of Timaru this week, (departing 05/12/18)) global animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection, reminds the government and the public of New Zealand, that the battle to end this cruel practice is not over.

While NZ banned live export for slaughter almost 15 years ago “Live export for breeding is ultimately live export for slaughter” says World Animal Protection Campaign Adviser, Christine Rose.

World Animal Protection opposes the live export of animals, due to the degree of suffering involved, the lack of control over the fate of the animals on arrival and the fact that many of the countries we export to (and will probably continually export to, for trade deals) have standards that fall well below what’s acceptable in New Zealand. Any animal live exported for breeding, once used, will ultimately be slaughtered.

“Only days ago, the NZ production sector was celebrating the passing of the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Act, citing that consumers need to know where imported meat products come from due to the lack of welfare standards in ex-NZ countries of origin”.

“Publicly acknowledging systemic animal cruelty in non- NZ countries, yet still shipping our animals off-shore to be held and then slaughtered in unacceptable conditions is abhorrent.” 

In 2014 World Animal Protection commissioned the Animal Protection Index (API) comparatively assessing 50 countries’ animal welfare policies, and New Zealand scored highly with an A ranking. But China, where this latest shipment of animals is destined, has an E ranking, putting it at the lower end of the scale showing animal welfare standards are very much lower, and in stark contrast with our own.

The cruelty of live animal shipments was recognised by all the parties that form the current coalition Government. Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens all showed support for banning current live export practices, in the Animal Agenda Aotearoa pre-election policy survey[i]. “In having successfully formed the Government, these parties now have the opportunity to honour their commitments to the people who voted for them based on those policies, The cumulative scale of these live animal exports show the significance of the problem and that the changes promised are overdue” continues Ms Rose.

In the past five years more around 226,000 animals have been shipped from New Zealand as widely as China, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Mexico. Most of the animals shipped across the world from New Zealand have been cattle, but in 2015 this included 45,000 sheep sent to Mexico, when 191 sheep died en route[ii].

“The value to the New Zealand economy of live export animal shipments is minimal, and disproportionate to the suffering caused. There are also reputational costs to the New Zealand Government which can be seen to condone exporting animal ill-treatment offshore where animal welfare standards are low”.

“Live animal shipments undermine our own national standards, and public expectations, especially for those who voted for the coalition parties considering their animal welfare promises.”

In a World Animal Protection Nielsen survey (2014), up to 59% of New Zealanders agreed live animal shipment practices could damage New Zealand’s reputation. 54% agreed it’s morally indefensible and should stop.

Ms Rose concludes: “The ban on live animal exports for breeding, is inadequate when hundreds of thousands of animals continue to be sent offshore where they are ultimately inhumanely slaughtered”. New Zealand’s high API ranking is undermined and definitely at risk if this country’s practices condone ill-treatment as part of animal shipments and farming practices abroad, of animals originating here”.

 

-ENDS-

Notes to the editor: