A Cabinet full of decisions

13:59
 
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Live Export Review
Nearly two years ago, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced a review of the live export trade[4]. This was in 2019, following reports from Sri Lanka that thousands of New Zealand and Australian cows were suffering[5].

The review only covered the export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer. The review considered four options; a total ban, a conditional ban, new regulations to enhance the export system, continuous improvement (non regulatory)[6].

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the Ministry for Primary Industries has delivered their advice from the live export review, and a document is with Cabinet ministers[3]. It’s expected a final decision will be made by Cabinet on the future of the live export over the next month of two.

Live export revenue compared with agriculture export revenue
Last year over 100,000 breeding cattle were shipped to China, to the value of $255 million[1]. As a proportion of the $47 billion that agriculture exports is expended to bring in for the year ending June 2021[2]. Live export makes up about 0.5% of New Zealand's total agriculture export revenue.

Live export lobbying
A spokesperson from South Australasian Livestock Services (SAILS) said "Customers in China paid a great deal of money for the livestock and had a vested interest in looking after them"[1]. Dr. John Hellstrom, former Chief Veterinary Office for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Now MPI) and former chair the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee said the animals ended up in poorer conditions than they would have experienced had they remained in New Zealand[3].

Animal welfare laws in China
Animal sentience is not formally recognised in Chinese legislation. Animal cruelty is not explicitly defined in Chinese legislation. Therefore, there are currently no nationwide laws that prohibit the mistreatment of animals in China. There’s no legislation that prohibits slaughter without stunning[7].

Live export ships
The average age of the livestock fleet is 36 years, much older than the 20 year average for the global merchant shipping fleet. They’re also twice as likely to suffer a ‘total loss’ from sinking or grounding compared with standard cargo vessels[8].

Foie Gras
The UK is looking to ban imports of foie gras, which previously they wouldn’t have been able to do when they were part of the EU[9].

Contact the show: animalmatters@safe.org.nz

References

[1]M. Burry, "Live exports ban effects on farmers 'significant' - exporter", Radio New Zealand, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/438077/live-exports-ban-effects-on-farmers-significant-exporter. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[2]"Situation and outlook for primary industries", Ministry for Priamry Industries, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/resources-and-forms/economic-intelligence/situation-and-outlook-for-primary-industries/. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[3]M. Burry, "Live animal exports decision coming soon - Agriculture Minister", Radio New Zealand, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/437638/live-animal-exports-decision-coming-soon-agriculture-minister. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[4]A. Fox, "Live animal export review needs a close look at welfare in destinations: SAFE - NZ Herald", New Zealand Herald, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/live-animal-export-review-needs-a-close-look-at-welfare-in-destinations-safe/XGWFQI2NEENPLNWJOITQHPWFUA/. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[5]L. Knowles and S. Heanue, "'I have a cemetery, not a farm': Mass deaths of Australian cattle in Sri Lanka", ABC News, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-04/australian-dairy-cattle-sent-to-sri-lanka-dying-malnourished/10936258. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[6]Livestock Export Review, MPI Discussion Paper No: 2019/10. Ministry for Primary Industries, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/38036-2019-Livestock-review-discussion-paper-for-consultation

[7]"China | World Animal Protection", Animal Protection Index, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://api.worldanimalprotection.org/country/china. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[8]S. Kevany, "Exclusive: livestock ships twice as likely to be lost as cargo vessels", The Guardian, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/28/exclusive-livestock-ships-twice-as-likely-to-be-lost-as-cargo-vessels. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

[9]T. Whipple and C. Smyth, "Foie gras will be off the menu after British import ban", The Times, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/foie-gras-will-be-off-the-menu-after-british-import-ban-xfh7qn57p. [Accessed: 12- Mar- 2021].

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