New Zealand has pledged to ban the export of live animals for breeding purposes.
The groundbreaking bill, which was signed into law last week and comes into force in April 2023, follows a tragic incident that killed 41 crew members and nearly 6,000 cattle.
In 2020, a Gulf Livestock ship left New Zealand and headed for China on what should have been a 17-day voyage.
However, after being caught in a Typhoon, the ship suffered engine trouble and ended up sinking just off the coast of Japan.
The deaths included 25-year-old vet Lukas Orda from Queensland, whose body was never found. Her family say they can’t ‘move on’ after the incident and can’t even get a death certificate because the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) allegedly failed to notify the coroners court of Queensland (CCQ).
Locals were also shocked to see the carcasses of dozens of cows in the water, while reports claim there were pregnant cattle aboard the vessel. The Ministry of Primary Industries has denied these allegations.
A similar incident occurred earlier this year in Sudan, when more than 15,000 sheep drowned after the ship Badr 1 sank in the Read Sea port of Suakin.
“Animals have been suffering for years”
New Zealand has just six months until such an incident happens again – a move that has been welcomed by the Green Party.
“It couldn’t have happened soon enough,” said party spokeswoman Chlöe Swarbrick. “Animals have been suffering from the export of live animals for years.
According to reports, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor also celebrated the decision. He said: “[The ban] protects the reputation not only of our current farmers, but also of future farmers who wish to engage in animal husbandry [can be] assured that we are the best animal welfare managers and producers of ethical animal proteins…
“The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill proves our economic security for the future amid growing consumer scrutiny at all levels over production practices.”
Will the UK ever ban live animal exports?
Despite progress in New Zealand, UK efforts to ban the export of live animals are now in jeopardy.
The Government’s Animal Welfare Action Plan 2021 has pledged to end the cruel practice under the Animals Abroad Bill – which has been the subject of an intervention cabinet members earlier this year.
The ban on imports of fur and foie gras is now also in question.
Just last week, a senior Tory official said: “Banning things seems very socialist. Informing people is the way to go.
Lorraine Platt of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation criticized the potential rollback, saying it would be a “huge disappointment” for activists and millions of animals.
Talk to The Independentshe said, “Banning live animal exports and hunting trophies were manifesto commitments, and some people vote on manifesto commitments in elections.”
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Featured image: Judd Christie Photography via Getty images