Former minister receives petition calling for ban on live animal exports to be kept

A petition signed by more than 57,000 people calling for the government to keep its ban on live animal exports has been handed over to Parliament.

Labour introduced the ban in April last year while still in government.

But the new government has said it would like to restart live animal exports with ‘gold standard’ rules to protect animal welfare and safety.

Damien O'Connor

A petition presented at Parliament on Tuesday afternoon was accepted by former agriculture minister Damien O’Connor, who put the ban in place.

He said the government’s position was stupid.

“In government we made the brave move to ban live exports clearly against a bit of pressure from the farming sector.”

He said it made up live exports made up a small part of total exports and they could see what direction the world was moving in.

“Since that time, we have other countries moving to ban live exports as well.”

Former chief veterinary officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr John Hellström lodged the petition.

He was concerned about the boats animals were transported on and even more worried about the destinations the livestock would be going to.

“These farms are big; they start off at 20,000 cows as a small one [and] the big ones are up to 120,000 cows.

“You can imagine with that many cows packed into a small space they have very little room to wander around.”

Hellström said he did not believe most farmers knew the conditions they were sending their cows to.

“I think most farmers who let their animals go into the trade are assuming that they’re well treated on the journey and well-treated on the other end. They’ve got no insight into what’s happening there.”

SPCA is one of the organisations backing the live export ban.

Its chief scientific officer Dr Arnja Dale said the conditions on the export boats were appalling.

“People know what’s happening on these boats and it is absolutely not acceptable.”

Labour’s animal welfare spokesperson Rachel Boyack also announced at the event the party would reverse any changes to the ban if it was re-elected.

Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard has said he would like the changes to the ban to be in place by next year.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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