This Thursday, September 29, the New Zealand government signed the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill to ban live animal exports after going through its third and final reading in Parliament.

Since 2019, New Zealand has had its eyes on this practice, which, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, puts at risk the reputation of farmers and the country, recognized for its high standards of animal welfare.

“New Zealand’s remoteness means animals are at sea for extended periods, heightening their susceptibility to heat stress and other welfare-associated risks” said the minister of agriculture, Damien O’Connor.

Accidents in this business also influenced the decision: In 2020, 41 people and 6,000 cattle lost their lives in a shipwreck off the Japanese coast. Just the year before, 14,600 sheep drowned as reported by the New York Times.

Last year alone, almost 2,000 cattle were left adrift for three months, having to be slaughtered and the meat discarded, and in early 2022 more than 15,000 sheep drowned after a ship sank in Sudan.

“Despite any regulatory measures we could put in place, the voyage times and the journey through the tropics to the northern hemisphere markets will always impose challenges.” O’Connor said.

Thanks to the new law, all livestock exports by sea will stop in New Zealand as of April 30, 2023, this means that thousands of cattle, deer, goats and sheep will no longer suffer the cruelties of these long journeys.

From SOS Animals Colombia we celebrate this decision and congratulate all the organisations and activists who worked hard for years to achieve this ban.

“New Zealand has made the wise decision to prioritise animal welfare over commercial interest and has made use of one of the exceptions included in Article XX of the GATT to end a cruel and abusive practice not only with animals, but also with people, since it is known that the working conditions of the people in these ships are questionable”. Says Cecilia Angulo, director of SOS Animals Colombia, who has a background in international political economy.

In Colombia, the debate is currently taking place thanks to a bill filed by the senator of the Green Party, Andrea Padilla, who is proposing a progressive ban. The bill has already had its first public hearing and is expected to continue its legislative process in the Congress.

Learn more about the SOS Animals’ campaign available here.

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