New Zealand is set to cease livestock exports by sea in April of next year, following a two-year transition period.
That is according to its Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor, who confirmed the passing of a bill to protect what he deems to be New Zealand’s “reputation for world-leading animal welfare standards” on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022.
The NZ government commenced a review of the livestock export trade in 2019 in response to concerns the trade could be a risk to New Zealand’s reputation.
The objective of that review was to provide citizens with an opportunity to reflect on how New Zealand could improve the welfare of livestock being exported.
He acknowledged that there are different opinions on the ban’s “long-term value” among farmers, how it affects New Zealand’s commitment to animal welfare, and its image in international consumers’ eyes.
The minister stated that those involved in the trade have made improvements over recent years.
However, despite any regulatory measures we could put in place, the voyage times and the journey through the tropics to the northern hemisphere markets will always impose challenges.
He said impacts on export flow will be “small” in the context of total primary sector exports.
Live exports by sea represented approximately 0.6% of primary sector exports last year.
NZ.s primary sector exports hit a record $53 billion last year, which “delivered economic security”, the minister said.
He said the result is built on its “hard-earned reputation, and this is something we want to protect”.
O’Connor said the tragic sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 highlighted the “real” risks.
However, he did acknowledge the “small number” directly impacted by these changes.
The two-year transition period, he concluded, has allowed those impacted by the ban sufficient time to adjust their business models and supply chains to account for the removal of the trade.