More protests as another livestock carrier arrives in Napier

Another protest against live cattle exports is taking place on Saturday, with the arrival of the livestock carrier Yangtze Fortune in Napier.

Animal rights group SAFE said the demonstration was intended to send a message that "Kiwis across the country are fed up with a lack of action from the Government".

The protest follows a similar demonstration in Timaru earlier this week, when almost 8000 cattle were loaded onto a vessel bound for China. 

Live cattle exports have long been controversial but have received increased scrutiny following the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 in September.

The ship capsized off the coast of Japan with 43 crew onboard - including two New Zealanders - and almost 6000 cattle.

Forty of those crew members remain missing, presumed dead.

The Ministry for Primary Industries placed a temporary ban on livestock exports after the disappearance of the Gulf Livestock 1 and ordered a review of the practice.

As a result of that review, conducted by Mike Heron QC, stricter rules were put in place for exporters.

A conditional prohibition period was also introduced, coming into effect on October 24 and running until November 30.

The shipment from Timaru was the first to take place during that period, and took some of the 24,000 cows that became stranded in pre-quarantine facilities when the Government's temporary ban came into effect.

Although the Government only exports cattle for breeding purposes, SAFE says it's impossible to know what will happen to the animals after they leave our shores and is calling for a permanent ban on live exports.

"New Zealand has animal welfare laws and regulations that don’t exist in the countries we export animals to," said Ashton.

"Wherever live export ships berth local people get out and protest because they want this cruel trade to end."

Those in the export industry maintain animals are treated well during voyages by sea and the practice should be allowed to continue.

The Government launched a broader review into live exports last year, but a decision on the matter has been held up due to COVID-19.

MPI says it has "no safety concerns about the ship".

"No export of live animals can proceed until we have conducted a post-loading review to ensure we are completely satisfied with the conditions on board. The vessel has been inspected by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and Maritime NZ will perform a focused maritime inspection of the vessel.

"MPI has no safety concerns about the ship. This vessel has been used several times to transport cattle between New Zealand and China. An AWEC can be issued only if, and when, MPI is satisfied that all requirements have been met and Maritime NZ has signed off on its focused inspection of the ship."