The ‘Gold Standard' for the export of livestock from New Zealand by sea is a world leading welfare assurance program that ensures our livestock is unequivocally cared for throughout the export process and beyond. The Gold Standard system takes export welfare to a level unmatched internationally and contributes to New Zealand’s position as a premium producer of sustainable and ethically produced agriculture. The ‘Gold Standard’ is backed by strong evidence that the application of these policies will lead to a positive sentient state for our exported livestock.

Preparation of livestock

Livestock will be prepared for export in a manner which ensures they are fit, healthy and happy throughout. To achieve this, the industry ‘Gold Standard' will require:

  • Minimum standards of weight and condition score that are independently verified

  • Superior environmental and nutritional management that ensures animals are well-prepared and satiated

  • Careful social and behavioural management that provide a secure and enriched support structure for all livestock

The sea-freight of livestock

Safe transit during the sea voyage is critical to the animal’s happiness and welfare during export. To achieve this, the industry ‘Gold Standard' will require:

  • The lowest regulated stocking densities in the world during transit

  • The export of pregnant cattle was phased out from from 01 June 2022

  • A responsible vessel owner program that mandates management practices that are designed to avoid “catastrophic failure”

  • Minimum standards of vessel quality, that will result in the discontinued use of any ship that poses an inherent or high animal welfare risk

  •  A transparent reporting system that measures and reports on animal welfare during the voyage

Destination welfare

It is important to New Zealander’s that our animals will enjoy the same or a better life than they would have should they have remained in New Zealand. To achieve this, the industry ‘Gold Standard' will require:

  • A two-way training, support and information exchange program with buyers, focused on the long-term welfare of the livestock through the export process and beyond.

  • Farms that buy New Zealand animals should be inspected by an international verification agency and proved to meet or exceed the 'Gold Standard' in:

    ~ Environment

    ~ Nutrition and Management

    ~ Veterinary Care

    ~ Transport

    ~ Humane End of Life policy

Regulating the Gold Standard

Ensuring the highest welfare standards requires commitment from industry and an appropriate regulatory framework to ensure it is consistently adhered to. The ‘Gold Standard’ would partner with Government to provide:

  • Clear and Defined Standards

  • Exporter Licensing

  • Performance monitoring and measuring

  • Training and upskilling programs

  • Intervention tools


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