Animal welfare is at the heart of the livestock exporting process. Every stakeholder involved has a responsibility to ensure the care of livestock and their welfare is the highest priority.
When animals are being exported from New Zealand their welfare is managed according to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and the relevant Codes of Welfare. Their management also needs to meet any pre-conditions or requirements necessary to obtain an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
The AWEC looks at a range of factors including previous export history, the type of livestock, the stocking density during the voyage, the length and nature of the journey, details about the stock handlers accompanying the animals and information about the management of the animals once they arrive, including their final destination and transport arrangements
People importing our high-value breeding stock into their countries are making a significant investment. It is in their interests to keep the animals in good condition after they arrive.
For exports by sea, MPI also considers details of the ventilation, drainage, pen design as well as fodder and water supply arrangements on the vessel.
The aim of the AWEC process is to minimise any welfare risks to the animals during their journey and protect New Zealand's reputation as a responsible exporter of live animals.
How do exporters ensure the welfare of animals during their journey?
Animals are managed under the Codes of Welfare published by the New Zealand National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC)
Animal welfare management follows the programme developed between MPI and exporters and meets requirements agreed between MPI and the importing country
Veterinarians and AsureQuality technicians supervise animal management throughout the export process
All vehicles used to transport animals are cleaned and disinfected prior to use in order to maintain the animal health status
MPI veterinarians inspect ships for approval before animals can be loaded and if they have any concerns they will not allow animals to be loaded
Veterinarians and stock handlers travel with the livestock on board the ship to their destination country and intensely supervise and provide their care throughout their journey
Sufficient food and fresh water are provided on the ship for the livestock during their journey and beyond in case of delays
Ships are stocked with medication and materials for various treatments