Agriculture Minister Damian O’Connor said the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill will ensure New Zealand’s economic security in the future amid growing consumer scrutiny of production practices.
The government began reviewing livestock export trade in 2019 over concerns that the trade could damage New Zealand’s reputation.
“The aim of the review was to provide New Zealanders with an opportunity to consider how the welfare of exported livestock could be improved.
“Our primary sector exports reached a record $53 billion last year, providing economic stability. This result is based on our hard-earned reputation, which is what I want to protect.
“I acknowledge the valuable input from the written and oral submitters during the review and selection committee process and the tremendous support the bill has received from the public.
“New Zealand’s remote areas mean animals are at sea for extended periods of time, increasing their susceptibility to heat stress and other welfare-related risks.
“People involved in the trade have improved in recent years, but despite the regulatory measures we can implement, voyage times and journeys from the tropics to northern hemisphere markets will always pose challenges.”
The sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 highlighted the real risks, he said.
“The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has endorsed the ban, and its long-term value among farmers, how it will affect New Zealand’s commitment to animal welfare, and in the eyes of international consumers. There are different opinions about our image.”
“Given the exports of the primary industry as a whole, the impact on export flows will be small,” he said.
Last year, maritime exports accounted for about 0.6% of primary sector exports.
“We acknowledge the small number of people directly impacted by these changes. The two-year transition period will allow those impacted by the ban enough to adjust their business models and supply chains to account for the removal of the trade. I was able to get a lot of time.
“This bill will strengthen and build New Zealand’s reputation as a safe and ethical producer of quality food.”
https://www.odt.co.nz/rural-life/rural-life-other/bill-passed-ban-livestock-exports-sea Bill passed to ban livestock export at sea