Regarding the NZ decision to ban live ex, the New Zealand Veterinary Association’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Helen Beattie, stated "we are not surprised by the decision and believe it is consistent with advances in animal welfare science that acknowledges animal sentience – meaning animals have feelings, both positive and negative, just like humans."
And yep, Australian animals have exactly the same sentience as NZ animals so its no more right to live ex here than it is in NZ.
Do we need to wait for another Gulf Livestock 1? Another report of cruelty in a destination country? Or worse....do we need New Zealand to show us how it’s done?
Australian farmers could, voluntarily, and on their own terms, be a proactive force for positive change and show the world that Australia really are animal welfare leaders (not just an empty boast!).
The New Zealand Government has formally announced it is banning the export of live cows and other farm animals by sea due to welfare concerns with a two year phase out. The country temporarily suspended such exports last year after the sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 but a review of live exports was already undewray from the previous year.
Minister O'Connor said the risk to the country's reputation outweighed any financial gains because there was no way to safeguard the welfare of the animals once they left New Zealand's shores.
“New Zealand must stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is under increasing scrutiny if we truly want to be the most ethical producers of food,” he said.
Congratulations NZ for their careful assessment, ethics and animal welfare concern. Australia of course is not troubled by such scruples...but perhaps the NZ example will lead others eventually.
TVNZ tonight ran with the exclusive that the New Zealand Government is set to ban live- ex. The trade from NZ may not end overnight but end it surely will. NZ has long led the world in animal welfare including banning live ex for slaughter years ago. This latest decision to ban the live export of dairy cattle will set them even higher as champions of animal welfare....whilst Australia falls further and further behind. Well done NZ and congratulations to the NZ Government.
Whatever happened to the government at least paying lip service to its promise of greater transparency? Moss Review? Carter Review?
Sheep Central reports on the new deal to revive sheep exports to Saudi Arabia after being told DAWR won't release details of the deal made.
"A Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment spokesperson said the requirement for one scabby mouth vaccination at least 30 days prior to the date of export to Saudi Arabia was part of the revised operational requirements for the preparation of sheep for live export to the kingdom. However, the spokesperson would not supply a full copy of the revised requirements to Sheep Central... 'The livestock export industry supports this approach.'"
Well we never expected transparency from the industry, but the government has a duty to the public - and clearly something to hide as well. Perhaps they are still working on the whitewashed "summary" of the deal.
Australia’s meat industry is championing the live export of cattle to Vietnam despite ESCAS reports of “flooding” which industry media, Beef Central describes as “a cruel practice in which cattle are forced to intake large volumes of water by hose prior to slaughter in the belief it will add weight to saleable meat.”
Whilst it is commendable that some of the 2020 ESCAS breaches were self reported by exporters, it still highlights the fundamental failure of Australia to a) care for its animals once they leave these shores and b) improve the animal welfare in other countries - a frequent claim of the industry.
A spokesman for the industry states that “100 percent compliance is an impossible goal for any industry.” Sure, but we are talking major non-compliance and major animal cruelty with incidents of "flooding".
Industries that involve such extreme animal welfare risks continue to be unacceptable.
Sheep Central reports that DAWR has now cleared the way for live sheep and goat exports to Saudi Arabia. The (now updated) article cites a spokesperson saying that exports must be managed in accordance with the ESCAS; although this was not initially made clear.
Live sheep have not been exported to Saudi Arabia for about 10 years, because the Saudi Government had refused to comply with ESCAS requirements. However, government and industry have brokered a new deal, the details of which are yet to be made public.
Regardless of any agreement reached, and regardless of Saudi Arabia’s lack of animal welfare regulations and long history of rejecting shipments, this trade route, like every other live export trade route, is just another animal welfare disaster waiting to happen.
There’s no reason why we can’t process these animals humanely in Australia for the socio-economic benefit of Australians and so that Australian voters can be proud of their nation’s agriculture industry instead of being shamed by it.
.....Auckland Council understands accountability
An article in Stuff highlights that no more cows owned by Auckland Council will be exported live. There was outcry after it was made public that the Council exported 26 cows in 2020. The loss of the Gulf Livestock 1 was cited as an example of the risks of the live export trade.
Waitākere ward councillor Shane Henderson said: “We’ve been assured we are following standards for the Ministry of Primary Industries, but people are expecting us to stop. I think as a public body we're accountable ultimately to the people of Auckland.”
Congratulations Auckland Council for understanding what government accountability means and listening to the people of New Zealand.
SPCA is calling for a ban on the live export of farmed animals by sea from New Zealand ahead of the nation’s impending Cabinet decision on the future of the trade.
The Scoop editorial highlights recent incidents which have seen thousands of animals die, and notes that animals exported for breeding purposes are often heavily pregnant during transport and constitute highly vulnerable animals. “Instead, our focus should be directed on expanding New Zealand’s trade in the export of animal genetics,” says the SPCA.
“The export of any live animal for slaughter is entirely unnecessary thanks to the refrigerated carcass trade, which guarantees economic returns for a greater proportion of society than just farmers and live exporters.”
Additionally: “The export of farmed animals to other countries with lower welfare standards does not reflect the expectations of the New Zealand public. This practice tarnishes New Zealand’s reputation internationally, and erodes confidence in our industry back home.”
VALE welcomes New Zealand’s willingness to consider banning the trade and has provided the NZ Government with its analysis.
The Guardian reports that the Spanish administration has issued orders that no livestock carriers destined for Saudi Arabia or Jordan should be loaded until the Suez Canal blockage is cleared. Apparently around 20 ships with animals loaded from Spain and Romania are now caught up in the mess, but Romanian authorities are yet to comment on any action being taken.
Concerns have been raised that food and water supplies could run out on ships depending on their location and how much water and food they have on board. Many of these ships do not have reverse osmosis (RO) for water production and RO cant be used in or near the Canal. Ships in the Canal itself could be particularly vulnerable if delays continue as replenishing with water and food would not be possible in the Canal. There is also concern that the animals will not be allowed ashore anywhere but their planned destination due to commercial and legal concerns not to mention physical logistics.
The situation is just another welfare risk to add to the long list that animals are exposed to by the live export trade. In the last few months there have been cases of capsize, rough seas, delayed voyages, machinery breakdown...
Animals International reports that six fully loaded livestock carriers, recently departed from Spain and Romania, are now waiting to pass through the Suez Canal. There may be others. It is now estimated that it could take weeks to move the large container ship that is currently preventing ships passing through.
Will the animals onboard these six ships face extended times at sea, or will authorities act quickly on their behalf? Action was not taken quickly enough in the case of the cattle on the Karim Allah and the Elbeik. Both vessels spent three months at sea. Many of the young bulls died, and the remainder were considered to have suffered so much that the most humane thing to do was to euthanase them with a veterinarian report confirming that animals were in "a bad general state" with the worst affected, no longer able to open their eyes or respond to stimuli.
Of potentially even more concern is if livestock carriers are actually stuck in the Suez Canal as this could result in issues for ventilation in hot weather (ie no ship movement) eg High Mortality Voyage 39.
No matter how good the intention, it is simply not possible for the live export trade to mitigate the many animal welfare risks associated with transport by sea.