Information obtained through Official Information Act requests by New Zealand’s SAFE for Animals has revealed that as many as 10 times more animals have died shortly after live export voyages compared with during the journey. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) however only publishes data based on the number of cows which die during the journey...as does Australia's equivalent (DAFF the current name!).
SAFE CEO Ms Ashton says that if the cows who died shortly after the voyage were included in MPI’s statistics, the number of deaths, in many cases, would double - a fact that was also evident in a recently released voyage vet report where dead cows on voyage were added to destination deaths rather than voyage deaths to keep the numbers down.
The post-arrival reports obtained by SAFE listed causes of death that included: hemorrhagic septicemia (a bacterial disease), pneumonia, rib fracture, stomach rupture, intestinal bleeding, lung adhesion, necrosis [?no Dx] and suffocation - conditions that highlight the suffering and poor animal welfare conditions on the voyage and after unloading.
Of concern however is that many cows were given grave prognoses at the end of quarantine ie more still would be dead shortly after quarantine making in some cases a likely ten-fold increase in the death rate from "the voyage".
For example, following a shipment that left New Plymouth on 24 September 2021, MPI only reported the three deaths that occurred onboard. However, a post-arrival report SAFE obtained revealed a further 11 cows died during quarantine. An additional 20 cows were given a "grave prognosis" whose condition was expected to deteriorate even with medical intervention.
The NZ National MP, Tim van de Molen claims that cows are "… often coming off the vessels in better condition than they boarded at New Zealand" which either indicates he has no correct information or ...worse!
So, NZ the "world leaders" in animal welfare are precariously maintaining their position purely by lack of transparency. And that should be an indication to any country that good animal welfare is simply not possible in the live export trade...if NZ cant do it...actually no-one can!