Welfare of livestock travelling inter-island to be checked by MAF and SPCA

24 January 2001

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and SPCA animal welfare inspectors are checking the welfare of all livestock waiting to be loaded onto the inter-island ferries departing Wellington and Picton this week.

MAF received information recently regarding unacceptable lengths of time livestock were remaining in transit from the farm to their destination within New Zealand. Of particular concern was the inter-island movement of stock during summer.

Earl Culham, MAF Enforcement Unit Senior Animal Welfare adviser said animal welfare issues had arisen when two of the inter-island ferries had mechanical problems prior to Christmas and a number of crossings were cancelled.

"There were incidents prior to ships sailing where stock trucks were parked on the wharves for long periods in the summer heat, due to cancellations," said Mr Culham,"We want to find out what the problems are and find a solution. It is critical animal welfare standards are maintained when during the next two to three months we expect at least 15,000 dairy cattle to be transported from the North to the South Island.

Mr Culham said the object of the monitoring is to ascertain the degree to which there is knowledge of, and compliance with, the Animal Welfare Act and familiarity with the Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Animals Transported within New Zealand. MAF will also be looking at where stock trucks are located on board the vessel, as good ventilation to stock while aboard the ship is critical.

The Transport Code outlines information on the responsibilities of the stock's owner, the transport driver, stock loading, shipboard ventilation, duration of the journey and loading densities for different stock.

MAF will be inspecting crossings from 23-25 January 2001.

For further information contact: Earl Culham, Senior Animal Welfare Adviser, MAF Enforcement Unit. Telephone: 021-767-864. Or Gita Parsot, MAF Communications. Telephone: N/A

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