The New Zealand government is expected to end its live animal export trade.
1 NEWS in NZ is reporting that the government could bring in a ban on the practice of exporting live animals this week, but it may be phased out over a two-year period.
The move follows recent critcism of the industry after the Gulf Livestock ship capsized last September in the east China Sea after leaving Napier in New Zealand’s North Island.
41 crew on board died, as well as nearly 6,000 cattle.
“It’s a trade whose time has come, it’s a trade we should have got out of years ago,” vet and former head of Animal Welfare for MPI Dr. John Hellstrom told 1 NEWS.
The export of live animals, predominantly cattle, was suspended by the government for a period, but was allowed to resume with assurances regarding animal welfare and safety.
NZ live export trade
According to the media report, nearly 110,000 cattle were exported from New Zealand to China last year representing an almost threefold increase from the previous year.
In 2019, the value of livestock exports was $54 million (NZD) – 0.1% of the total value of New Zealand’s primary product exports.
Exporters in NZ are concerned that if the live export trade is eliminated, surplus cattle will have to be culled at a young age.
They claim this could have a detrimental impact to beef farmers across the country.
Irish live exports
Meanwhile, Irish live exports of animals were down 25% last year compared to 2019.
The reduction in exports was due to a number of factors.
The peak time for exporting calves coincided with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in much smaller numbers of calves being exported to continental Europe.
Pig exports to Northern Ireland were down by about 80% and the export of purebred breeding horses around the world was down by about 20%.