New Zealand to phase out live exports by sea

Rahmeh, later renamed Gulf Livestock 1, in 2019 (Photo: Flett)

The New Zealand Government has stated that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years.

The transition period will enable the country’s agriculture sector to adapt, as the decision will affect farmers, exporters, and importers, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

Live exports by sea represent approximately 0.2 per cent of New Zealand’s primary sector exports revenue since 2015.

Mr O’Connor said the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) review of live exports, which started in 2019, identified mixed perceptions of the activity. Further, in its review submission, the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which advises ministers on animal welfare issues, recommended that the practice should stop.

Improvements had been made to the practice over recent years. However, despite best efforts, the voyage times to New Zealand’s northern hemisphere markets has been shown to pose animal welfare challenges.

During the transition period, exporters will be given the opportunity to meet the extra requirements that the government introduced following the independent report carried out after the loss of the live export ship Gulf Livestock 1 and all but two of its 43-strong crew in the East China Sea off Japan September 2020.

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