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Cows put at risk while Cabinet ponders live export's future - SAFE

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The live export ship Ocean Ute is scheduled to arrive at Port Taranaki tomorrow to export thousands of cows. This is the second time Ocean Ute has exported animals from New Zealand this year.

Radio New Zealand reported today that a paper has been sent to Cabinet, with a decision on the future of the trade likely to be made in the next month or two month. The Government has been reviewing the live export trade since June 2019.

SAFE Campaign Manager Bianka Atlas said even the Prime Minister stated she had ‘significant concerns’ about the trade when the live export ship Gulf Livestock 1 capsized and sunk.

"The Prime Minister and her Cabinet Ministers need to take decisive action," said Atlas. "If there’s anything we’ve learnt since June 2019, it’s that live export is a high-risk trade that needs to end."

"We know that the probability of harm to animals is great," said Atlas.

"Cows are at risk at sea, and they’re at risk in their destination country. The animal welfare laws and regulations we have in New Zealand don’t exist in the countries we export animals to."

Thousands of cows have been stranded at sea for over two months in the Mediterranean following an onboard outbreak of the viral disease bluetongue on two live export ships. Both ships have been refused entry at multiple ports. Spanish officials now say over 800 cows on the ships must be slaughtered.

With the arrival of Ocean Ute pending, Taranaki Animal Rights Group are planning a protest in New Plymouth on Saturday.

Atlas said people are fed up with their ports being used for an industry that puts profits before the wellbeing of animals. "The time for deliberation has long passed. It’s time to act."

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