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Urgent call to protect the ban on live animal export – SAFE For Animals

SAFE is today launching a nationwide campaign aimed at the new government, issuing an urgent call to preserve the ban on live animal export.

The campaign is calling on New Zealanders to add their names to a parliamentary petition, headed by Former Chair of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), Dr John Hellstrom.

The prohibition on live export by sea, enforced in April 2023, sets a global standard for animal welfare. It was endorsed by numerous submissions and received strong backing from the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. However, the current government has pledged to overturn the world-leading ban.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says overturning the ban on live export would not only jeopardise the welfare of animals, but also undermine the progress made for our country.

“Reversing the ban on live export would not only ignore overwhelming public support but also subject animals to the distress of prolonged sea voyages and inadequate oversight at destination ports.”

“It is essential for the government to prioritise the best interests of New Zealand’s animals and listen to the voices of concerned citizens who advocate for their rights and welfare,” says Ashton.

Camorra Research, commissioned by SPCA NZ, recently found a staggering 83% of New Zealanders lack confidence in ensuring animal welfare once they arrive at their destination. Additionally, the majority recognise the perils of long sea journeys for live animals, deeming them both hazardous and distressing. Consequently, public trust in the live export industry remains low, standing at a mere 12%.

Crucially, more than half of interviewed farmers also believe live export should remain banned.

“The rest of the world is starting to shift away from live animal exports due to significant animal welfare concerns. Australia, Luxembourg, and the European Union are all considering or have taken steps to phase out live animal exports,” says Ashton.

“Undoing our ban would mark the first instance in New Zealand’s history of legislation diminishing, rather than improving, animal welfare standards.”

“We’re proud that New Zealand has led the way on live export, and SAFE will not allow this Government to take us backwards.”

– Dr John Hellstrom ONZM is the past Chief Veterinary Officer of MAF (now MPI), past Chair of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Intensive Winter Grazing Taskforce. John is a retired veterinarian who has been closely involved with live export as a regulator and overseer. He has had concerns about the live export of animals by ship and the welfare of our animals overseas for over 30 years.

 

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