Rules reflect high welfare expectations
The rules governing the export of live animals overseas reflect the high expectations New Zealanders have around animal welfare. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 was amended in 2022 to state that after 30 April 2023 no livestock may be exported from New Zealand by sea. Under the Animal Welfare (Export of Livestock for Slaughter) Regulations 2016, no live animals may be exported for slaughter by air without the prior approval of the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
MPI's role is to ensure the welfare of the animals on their journey. We take a number of steps before departure and during the journey to ensure the animals' welfare.
- MPI is regularly in touch with exporters to determine the health status of the animals and assess an application for the issue of an Animal Welfare Export Certificate.
- MPI vets inspect all animals to ensure they are in good condition. The animals are only cleared to travel when the vet is satisfied they are fit to travel.
- Prior and during transport, animals should remain in similar groups to avoid the stress from mixing with unfamiliar animals.
During the journey
- The animals are loaded into specifically designed crates that ensure the animals are secure and well-ventilated.
- Animals are given the right amounts of water, food, and space. They are able to fully stand in their natural posture, turn and lie down in the container.
- During the journey the temperature, ventilation and humidity are controlled, and this is monitored by the crew.
- People involved in the transport of animals are adequately trained and monitor the welfare of the animals throughout the journey.
It is in the importer’s best interests that the prime breeding stock remain in excellent condition so they can make a return on their investment.
The exporter is required to provide reports to MPI on how the animals travelled within 5 working days and 40 days after arrival of the animals in the destination country.
If MPI becomes aware of any information that contradicts information provided by the exporter – either in a report or the stated purpose of the animals – this would be taken into account when applications for future exports are considered.
Find out more
- How MPI issues Animal Welfare Export Certificates
- An overview of New Zealand's animal welfare system
Who to contact
If you have questions about animal welfare, email email@example.com.