Wellington – As the New Zealand Government is expected to make a decision on the future of live export any day, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, urging the government to adopt a total ban on live-animal exports from New Zealand.
Coinciding with the news that the recent Suez Canal blockage left at least 20 live export vessels carrying cows and sheep trapped, PETA’s latest correspondence to the prime minister cites several reasons for the government to shut down the industry, including human rights violations, zoonotic disease risk, and the threat such journeys pose to both human and animal lives.
Last September, New Zealand suspended the live export of cows following the tragic sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1, an incident that claimed the lives of 41 humans and 5,867 cows. In October, exports of live animals intended for breeding resumed under new guidelines, but PETA says regulations cannot go far enough.
“The millions of cows, chickens, sheep, and other animals thrown about on rough seas, trampled by their shipmates, suffocated in their own faeces, and dying of dehydration, starvation, or illness aboard these ships do not care that New Zealand ‘only’ exports ‘breeding stock’,” writes PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “All this means is that these animals endure gruelling journeys – and face unacceptable risks – only to give birth over and over on hideous factory farms before being killed.”
PETA’s letter also notes that live-export ships are a potential breeding ground for the next pandemic. Belgian veterinarian Jeroen Dewulf warns that live animals are the largest source of disease transmission. “The more you are going to move animals,” he warns, “the more you run the risk that diseases will be spread through these animals.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.
PETA’s letter to Ardern is available in full here.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.