Otautahi – New Zealand will ban live animals being exported out of the country from April 2023.
Aotearoa currently only exports animals for breeding, not slaughter, and it will stop all of these on April 30, 2023.
The decision comes two years after 41 crew members and 6,000 cattle died when a storm sank an export ship.
Two New Zealanders were killed in the tragedy, which led to an increase in support to ban live exports in the country.
Environment minister Damien O’Connor says the new law would protect New Zealand’s reputation as the world becomes increasingly more conscious of animal welfare. It protects the reputation of not just farmers, but farmers of the future.
Live exports are hugely controversial due to animal welfare concerns. The vessels are often overcrowded, and the animals suffer from disease, exhaustion, and dehydration.
Millions of animals, including pigs, cows, and sheep are exported each year around the world.
Many animals have also been killed in accidents. In 2020, 14,000 sheep were killed after a ship capsized. Earlier this year, around 15,000 drowned after another sunk near Sudan.
Last year, 134,722 cattle were exported out of New Zealand.
New Zealand is relatively far from the countries it exports to, animals can suffer even more than usual on these journeys.
The remoteness means animals are at sea for extended periods, heightening their susceptibility to heat stress and other welfare-associated risks.
Live exports are hugely controversial across the world, and this move by New Zealand is a significant step against the practice.
New Zealand will stop all live exports of livestock by sea on May 1, 2023.
New Zealand government data shows in the first half of 2022, the country exported 50,440 live animals, which were all destined to China.
Napier is the leading exporting port, handling about three quarters of the consignments. During the period, fatalities stood at 23. In 2021, the country exported 134,722 live animals with 86 reported dead. China remained the sole market.