The fate of 28,000 cows in quarantine in New Zealand and supposedly destined for China in the coming weeks hangs in the balance.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected to take about a month, after the loss of the Gulf Livestock 1 in a maritime tragedy.
Heron will be supported by retired Rear Admiral Tony Parr.
The review will assess the assurances MPI receives when it considers an application for an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) – required for exports of live animals – in particular:
• Carriage by sea as a mode of transport, and
• Susceptibility of livestock to harm and distress on the journey when exported by ship.
“The current temporary suspension of cattle livestock exports will remain in place until the review report is completed and considered,” says Smith.
“This is an extremely difficult time for the families of those on the Gulf Livestock 1 and my thoughts are with them.
“At the heart of our decision to temporarily suspend cattle livestock exports is a commitment to helping ensure people and animals on livestock export boats are safe.
“We are working closely with exporters, who have provided assurances that animals currently on pre-export isolation farms are in good condition and well looked after.”
Terms of Reference for the review can be found here.
Maritime New Zealand has also published information here.