Protesters meet live export ship at Canterbury port

Cows on the Gulf Livestock 1 on a voyage in 2019. Photo: Supplied via NZH
Cows on the Gulf Livestock 1 on a voyage in 2019. Photo: Supplied via NZH
A protest against the arrival of a live export ship will get under way in Timaru today.

The world's largest livestock vessel, the Ocean Drover, is scheduled to collect 7945 cows from PrimePort on Wednesday.

It is the first ship to arrive in New Zealand to export some of the 24,000 cows that have been in quarantine since the sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 in September.

A second live export ship, Ocean Swagman, is expected to arrive in Timaru this weekend, as well as a third ship, Yangtze Fortune, in Napier on Saturday.

SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe, who is currently in Timaru, said exporters are rushing to get the animals out of the country.

"We almost can't keep up with the number of live export ships heading to our shores, but their presence isn't lost on the locals.

"When these ships come to New Zealand, people protest, because they're appalled by this cruel trade."

It's been two months since 5867 cows and two kiwis were lost in the Gulf Livestock 1 tragedy, he said.

Last month, the Ministry for Primary Industries released new requirements for the export of live animals by sea, following recommendations from a review.

Appelbe said the review is tinkering around the edges.

"The reality is that all of these animals who are exported for breeding purposes will eventually be slaughtered in their destination country, potentially by methods outlawed in New Zealand.

"The incoming government has a strong mandate to quickly create change. They must end the export of live animals."

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