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Tuesday, March 24

Sheep shipments will slaughter NZ’s overseas imagen

The Green Party is calling on the Government not to resume the cruel and unnecessary trade in exporting live sheep overseas for slaughter.

"There are no benefits, only risks to New Zealand, from resuming live sheep exports," said Green Party Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

The Minister of Agriculture David Carter has confirmed that New Zealand wants to resume live sheep exports with Saudi Arabia. New Zealand stopped live sheep exports in 2003 due to concern about our overseas trading image. NowAwassi Ltd, a majority owned Saudi company, is seeking permission to resume the trade.

"This trade is not just cruel it makes no economic sense," said Ms Kedgley "In Australia meat workers unions estimate that twelve thousand jobs have been lost and 70 abattoirs closed as a result of their live sheep exports. Why would we want to risk job losses and abattoir closures in New Zealand?"

"Live sheep exports are completely unnecessary as most sheep in New Zealand are slaughtered according to Halal customs. Halal-certified meat can be, and is, exported frozen and chilled to the Middle East," Ms Kedgley said.

"Sending sheep across the world for slaughter violates the basic principle that animals should be slaughtered as near to where they were raised as possible to minimise distress.

"Sheep are jammed onto ships and forced to endure overcrowded and stressful conditions that can lead to blindness and disease for the animals, only to be killed, often in horrendous conditions, at the end of weeks of torment at sea," said Ms Kedgley.

"Australia has gained a reputation for animal cruelty as a result of its trade in animals for slaughter. Why would we risk damaging our reputation, just so a company with majority overseas ownership can earn some short term profits?"

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