NZ to ban live animal exports from 2023

Damien O'Connor. Photo: ODT files
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. Photo: ODT files
The Government has confirmed plans to ban live animal exports from 2023 – a move that has already drawn criticism from some in the industry.

This morning, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor confirmed the ban would begin in 2023.

"At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand's reputation for high standards of animal welfare," he said in a statement.

"We must stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is under increasing scrutiny."

The ban will fully come into effect in 2023 – the next two years will be a phase-out period.

Live exports have made up roughly 0.2 per cent of all agriculture revenue since 2015.

But the Animal Genetics Trade Association spokesman Dave Hayman said the ban was "morally and practically unjustified".

The live animal export trade, according to the association, is worth half a billion dollars.

"This is an ill-informed, massively consequential decision for the nation, to earn short-term political brownie points from a few activists.

"There is no morality in removing half a billion dollars from our economy and forcing the early deaths of up to 150,000 animals a year."

But not everyone is opposed to the new rules.

"It's a trade whose time has come, it's a trade we should have got out of years ago," former head of Animal Welfare for MPI Dr John Hellstrom told TVNZ.

Last year nearly 110,000 cattle were exported from New Zealand to China. That's a nearly threefold increase from the year before.

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