New Zealand’s agriculture minister Damien O’Connor announced the country will cease the export of livestock by sea following a transition period of up to two years.
“At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. We must stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is under increasing scrutiny,” Damien O’Connor said.
“This decision will affect some farmers, exporters, and importers and a transition period will enable the sector to adapt.”
Live exports by sea represent approximately 0.2 percent of New Zealand’s primary sector export revenue since 2015 and there have been no livestock exports for slaughter since 2008.
“I acknowledge the economic benefit some farmers get from the trade, but I also note that support of it is not universal within the sector.”
“There is split opinion about its long-term value and how it fits with the story we want to tell internationally to consumers. In its review submission, the Independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which advises ministers on animal welfare issues, advised that the practice should stop.”
Damien O’Connor said improvements had been made to the practice over recent years, but despite everyone’s best efforts, the voyage times to our northern hemisphere markets will always pose animal welfare challenges.
“During the transition period, exporters will meet the extra requirements that we introduced following the independent Heron report, which was carried out after the tragic loss of the Gulf Livestock 1 in September 2020.
Photo: The Age