AWEC process for livestock

To export non-exempt cattle, deer, sheep and goats, you need to apply for an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) from MPI's animal exports team. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps

Step 1
What you need to know

An overview of getting an AWEC to export livestock.

Check exemption list before you start

Some types of animals can be exported without an AWEC. Check the exemptions list before you start.

Contact MPI early

You should contact MPI early in the export planning process to discuss your proposed export and prospective application. You may seek, at this pre-application stage, an indication of any concerns MPI could have about the proposed export and find out what information MPI may need as part of the application process.

Note that New Zealand doesn't allow the exporting of livestock for slaughter, unless an exemption is granted by the MPI Director-General.

To obtain an Animal Welfare Export Certificate you need to:

  • complete the request for services form and send it to MPI's animal exports team
  • complete a declaration if exporting non-exempt livestock (cattle, goats, deer, and sheep), stating the purpose of the export and send the declaration to MPI
  • be aware of the restrictions on exporting livestock for slaughter
  • be familiar with any guidance document issued by MPI for the transport of animals
  • complete the questionnaire MPI sends you and return it to us 
  • comply with any conditions set by MPI for your export
  • ensure all other documentation is completed for exporting your live animals.

Guidance for the transport of cattle by sea

If you're exporting live cattle by sea download and read the guidance document.

MPI Guidance Material for the Transport of Cattle by Sea [PDF, 659 KB]

 Legal obligations

Regulations relating to animal exports and animal welfare export certificates are in Part 3 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Exporters need to be familar with the legislation.

Step 2
What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Apply for your Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC)

To get an AWEC, you must complete a request for services form at least 20 working days before the planned departure date of the animals from New Zealand.

Download the request for services form [PDF, 550 KB]

Email your completed form to

Declare the purpose of your export when exporting livestock

If you're exporting livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, or deer) for any purpose, you must also provide MPI with a sworn declaration stating the intended end-use of the animals. The form must be included with your application.

Download and complete the declaration form [PDF, 28 KB]

Complete the questionnaire sent to you

After submitting your application and, if relevant, the sworn declaration about the purpose of the export, MPI will send you a questionnaire that you must complete and return.

Assessing your application

When MPI has your completed documentation, we will start assessing your application. This may involve contacting you by email or telephone for further information or clarification. Sometimes a meeting may also be needed before the assessment is completed.

If the outcome of the assessment is favourable, the MPI animal exports team will notify you of the decision in an email that also lists the conditions under which the final AWEC may be issued.

If the assessment is unfavourable, MPI staff will tell you the reasons and how to resolve them to qualify for an AWEC. If the issues cannot be resolved, you may decide to abandon the export application.  

Comply with AWEC conditions

You will need to comply with, or show that you arranged to comply with, any conditions specified in the AWEC decision email before your animals are allowed to leave New Zealand. Checks will be made that the conditions have been, or will be met.

Step 3
Getting your AWEC

What happens on the day of export.

On the day of export, a veterinarian from MPI Verification Services (MPI VS) will verify at the port of departure that all conditions of the AWEC have been met. The final AWEC will then be issued by the MPI VS veterinarian and your animals can leave New Zealand.

Who to contact

If you have questions about getting an AWEC, email

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