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High-risk live export ship due to berth at Napier Port this weekend - SAFE

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The high-risk live export ship Yangtze Fortune, due to berth at Napier Port this weekend, is currently embroiled in an investigation into a biosecurity breach in Australia.

The Department of Agriculture in Australia is investigating Soar Harmony Shipping Limited, who own the Yangtze Fortune, following a serious biosecurity breach. As a result of this breach, the ship was prevented from exporting 5000 cows to China from the Port of Portland, Australia, on August 23. Animal rights organisation SAFE understands that the ship then started sailing towards New Zealand.

Yangzte Fortune has a history of problems including high-mortality shipments and was previously deemed unsuited to voyages of more than 10 days by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

SAFE Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald says the Ministry for Primary Industries needs to contact the Australian Department of Agriculture immediately to request the details of their investigation and reject the company’s export certificate application.

"The Yangtze Fortune is a high-risk live export ship embroiled in a biosecurity investigation, but it appears to be business as usual for the New Zealand Government," says Ms Macdonald.

"We have written to MPI urging them to contact the Department of Agriculture in Australia to request details of their investigation. MPI have ignored our concerns of a biosecurity risk, and delayed their response to our Official Information Act request into details of recent Animal Welfare Export Certificate applications. Napier Port's website also hasn't specified where the ship will be going after it leaves."

"The whole situation stinks. If the ship wasn’t good enough for Australia, why is it acceptable for New Zealand? MPI is risking New Zealand’s animals, reputation, and possibly creating a biosecurity risk. They must decline this ship’s export certificate application."

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor ordered a review of New Zealand’s live export trade in June. This was after ABC News in April this year exposed the plight of New Zealand cows suffering and dying in Sri Lanka. Since then, MPI approved an application to export 5400 cattle aboard Yangtze Fortune’s sister ship, Yangtze Harmony in August. This was the largest shipment of live cattle from New Zealand in two years.

"So far this year New Zealand has exported more cattle than were exported in total in 2018. That is a sign this Government is not taking their review into live export seriously."

"We know that animals suffer on live export ships, and Yangtze Fortune has a bad track record."

"Caring Kiwis want the cruel live export trade to end. Over 15,000 Kiwis have signed our petition to prohibit the export of live farmed animals to countries with lower animal welfare, transport, and slaughter standards than New Zealand. We encourage the Government to show compassion for animals and end live export cruelty."

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