There is a comprehensive control system that manages livestock exporting. Exporters need to demonstrate they have met all requirements under domestic and international legislation and guidelines before exports are approved.

Latest news

April 2021: Exports of livestock by sea ending

On 14 April 2021, Cabinet announced its decision to ban the export of livestock by sea, with a transition period of up to 24 months.

The end date for livestock exporting has been set as 30 April 2023 and MPI will continue to make improvements to manage animal welfare risks during the transition period, as part of the continuous improvement programme for livestock by sea.

October 2021: Animal Welfare Amendment Bill

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill proposes to amend the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to ban the export of livestock (cattle, deer, sheep, and goats) by sea.

Currently, it is an offence to export an animal from New Zealand to another country without an animal welfare export certificate under the Animal Welfare Act. The bill would prohibit applications for, and the issue of, animal welfare export certificates for the export of cattle, deer, sheep, and goats by ship if the animals would leave New Zealand on or after 30 April 2023. This change would ban the live export of those animals from 30 April 2023, which is approximately 24 months from the date that Cabinet announced its initial decision.

Exporter responsibilities

When exporting products from New Zealand an exporter is responsible for:

  • ensuring your products meet New Zealand standards 
  • complying with the destination country's eligibility requirements
  • reporting to MPI if your products are no longer fit for their intended purpose or have been refused entry by the destination country 
  • keeping the right records.

The export of livestock (sheep, cattle, deer, and goats) for slaughter is prohibited in New Zealand.

An MPI recognised agency may need to supervise any testing of live animals for export. Any required laboratory tests must be done by a laboratory under the Recognised Laboratory Programme (RLP).

Where to go for further information

MPI webpages:

Export animals
Live animals including livestock
Export tests for live animals
Overview of the livestock export control system


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