[28 January/Stuff]

Following the European Union’s decision to implement a ban on live animal exports to countries with weak animal welfare standards, animal rights groups are calling on New Zealand to introduce similar rules. A report recommending tougher rules for transporting live animals was approved last week by the EU Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and will go to a final parliamentary vote next month. The report recommends banning live exports to countries with animal welfare standards lower than the EU’s. Its author pointed to New Zealand as a positive example for taking measures to limit live exports, but animal rights group SAFE would like to see New Zealand to follow Europe’s lead. Ministry for Primary Industries records show 338,888 live cattle have been exported since 2008. Of those, 372 animals died during transport, giving an average mortality rate of 0.11%, although there was a large shipment of sheep in 2015 to Mexico which suffered a mortality rate of 0.42%. MPI did not have jurisdiction and could not require verification of animal welfare after the animals arrived. Global animal welfare group, World Animal Protection, has also called for an end to live exports, including for breeding purposes, from New Zealand.