Petition to ban live animal exports delivered to Parliament

The petition was presented to Green MP Gareth Hughes outside Parliament.
The petition was presented to Green MP Gareth Hughes outside Parliament. Photo credit: Supplied

A petition calling for an end to live exports has been delivered to Parliament by animal rights group SAFE.

The 30,000 signature petition seeks to ban the export of live animals to countries with lower animal welfare, transport and slaughter standards than New Zealand. 

The live export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter was banned in 2003, however, it is still legal to export these animals for breeding purposes.

SAFE launched the petition following an ABC News exposé in April that showed New Zealand and Australian cows suffering in Sri Lanka two years after they were exported.

Agriculture Minister, Damien O'Connor ordered a review of live exports in response to the story, telling Newshub that the time had come to rethink the practice and consider whether it was something that fitted within the values of New Zealand.

"When animals leave New Zealand we set conditions that are considered world-class by veterinarians," he said.

"But there have been incidents over the last few years that highlight the fact that once animals leave New Zealand we have very limited ability to ensure their wellbeing when they reach their destination," said O'Connor.

"That's something that's not acceptable to me and I know it's not acceptable to a large number of New Zealanders."

However SAFE campaigns officer Mona Oliver said the review excluded the majority of farmed animals that are exported, most of which are day-old chicks.

"The Agriculture Minister's review will ignore 99 percent of the farmed animals currently exported live. These animals all have the ability to suffer as much as the cows, sheep, deer and goats that are part of the review," she said.

"The Minister must close the loopholes in the live export trade. By ensuring that we don't export animals to countries with lower standards than New Zealand we can protect our animals from conditions that would be illegal here. It's the right thing to do."

The petition was handed over to Green MP Gareth Hughes.