Push Grows To Ban Live Animal Export As Decision Looms
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Posted March 31, 2021
As the New Zealand Government is expected to make a decision on the future of live export any day, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have written to the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, urging the government to adopt a total ban on live-animal exports from New Zealand.
Coinciding with the news that the recent Suez Canal blockage left trapped at least 20 live export vessels carrying cows and sheep, PETA’s latest correspondence to the Prime Minister cites several reasons for the government to shut down the industry; including human rights violations, zoonotic disease risk, and the threat such journeys pose to both human and animal lives.
Last September, New Zealand suspended the live export of cows following the tragic sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1, an incident that claimed the lives of 41 humans and 5,867 cows. In October, exports of live animals intended for breeding resumed under new guidelines, but PETA says regulations cannot go far enough.
“The millions of cows, chickens, sheep, and other animals thrown about on rough seas, trampled by their shipmates, suffocated by their own faeces, and dying of dehydration, starvation, or illness aboard these ships do not care that New Zealand ‘only’ exports ‘breeding stock’,” writes PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “All this means is that these animals endure gruelling journeys – and face unacceptable risks – only to give birth over and over on hideous factory farms before being killed.”
PETA’s letter also notes that live-export ships are a potential breeding ground for the next pandemic. Belgian veterinarian Jeroen Dewulf warns that live animals are the largest source of disease transmission. “The more you are going to move animals,” he warns, “the more you run the risk that diseases will be spread through these animals.”
Animal rights organisation SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said Aucklanders would be shocked to learn that Cornwall Park was being used to raise animals for the controversial live export trade.
For nearly two years, the Ministry for Primary Industries has been reviewing the controversial live export trade.
“Cows are at risk at sea, and they’re at risk in their destination country. The animal welfare laws and regulations we have in New Zealand don’t exist in the countries we export animals to.”
Animals exported for breeding purposes and their young will still eventually be slaughtered, potentially by methods that would not be legal in New Zealand.