Source: SAFE NZ
While New Zealand is gearing up to lift a temporary ban on live exports, 25 crew have tested positive for COVID-19 on the livestock carrier Al Messilah, which is docked at Fremantle Port in Western Australia.
The ship, which was due to be loading animals for export, has been delayed while authorities work to get infected crew off the ship and into hotel quarantine.
SAFE Campaign Manager Marianne Macdonald said live export poses too great a risk to New Zealand as the country struggles with containing COVID at its own ports.
“We have worked too hard to stamp out COVID-19 in our community to risk compromising that success by continuing with such a cruel trade,” said Macdonald.
“Live export accounts for less than one percent of our overall exports, at the expense of animals and the safety of Kiwis.”
Livestock exports were temporarily halted following the sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 and the 5,867 cows it was shipping to China. Last month Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced those rules would be relaxed on 24 October, this Saturday.
Just before the election, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern expressed her significant concernswith live export. Macdonald says Ardern should trust her instincts.
“Labour now has a strong mandate to take decisive action on crucial issues like live export.”
“Live export is a risk to animal welfare and our international reputation and ought to be banned before any more damage is done.”
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We’re creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.
– Images of cows in holding pens on the Gulf Livestock 1 on a voyage in 2019.
– Footage of a live export ship loading cows at PrimePort Timaru.
– The temporary halt on shipments of livestock was announced after the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1. A review of live export by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was already underway when this disaster occurred. On Friday 11 September, in response to the latest disaster, MPI announced the launch of yet another review – this time into the welfare of animals while on board live export ships. The second review is being conducted by Michael Heron QC.
– The live export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter was banned in 2003. However, it is still legal to export these animals for breeding purposes.
– Animals exported for breeding purposes and their young will still eventually be slaughtered, potentially by means too cruel to be legal in New Zealand.
– The Government has been reviewing the live-export trade since June 2019. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has expressed his preference for a conditional ban on cattle exports.