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In Grueling Journey, 53,000 Live Animals Shipped from New Zealand to Mexico

June 26, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

A ship containing approximately 50,000 sheep and 3,000 cattle that departed from New Zealand on June 11th arrived in Mexico on June 26th after 16 days at sea. It is the single largest shipment of live animals ever exported from New Zealand.

Sheep are held in pens in New Zealand prior to being loaded onto transport ship (photo: John Bisset/Fairfax NZ)

Sheep are held in pens in New Zealand prior to being loaded onto transport ship (photo: John Bisset/Fairfax NZ)

53,000 live animals were shipped from New Zealand to Mexico on the NADA

53,000 live animals were shipped from New Zealand to Mexico on the NADA

Given the long duration of the overseas journey, animal rights activists in New Zealand and Australia have expressed grave concerns about the welfare of the animals, who can suffer from malnutrition, starvation, heatstroke, respiratory disease, blindness from seawater spray and stress from 16 days of intensive confinement. Unloading 50,000 sheep, who are reportedly pregnant, and 3,000 cattle is expected to take several more days.

live-export-sheep copy

Unloading sheep from a live transport ship

Once on the ground, the animals will be loaded onto trucks and/or trains and transported for an additional 10-15 hours, according to advocates. The temperature in Mazatlan, the port where the cattle and pregnant sheep are being unloaded, is approximately 90°F (32° C), reaching up to 120°F (49° C) with the heat index.

These trailers in Mazatlan, Mexico, are transferring the animals to their final destinations

These trailers in Mazatlan, Mexico, are transferring the animals to their final destinations

According to Animals Australia, which has conducted over 35 live export investigations, millions of animals have died during these voyages. In an interview with TV3 in New Zealand, Hans Kriek, the Executive Director of Save Animals From Exploitation in New Zealand said, “We understand that some animals have already died, but we have no idea about the numbers.”

In the live export industry, dead and dying animals are dumped overboard

In the live export industry, dead and dying animals are dumped overboard. This cow washed up on shore.  (photo: Against Live Transports)

Mr. Kriek and other activists have been communicating with the advocacy groups in Mexico about documenting the arrival of ship and unloading of the animals. “I imagine the locals may be able to smell the ship before they can see it,” said another advocate who contacted TheirTurn about the shipment.

The ship NADA has transported 5,300 live animals from NZ to Mexico (photo:

NADA transported 53,000 live animals from NZ to Mexico (photo: Mitchell Bransgove/Fairfax NZ)

The company exporting the animals, Livestock and Agricultural Products New Zealand, insists the 53,000 animals are treated humanely, noting that the ship is staffed with a Mexican veterinarian and three experienced stockmen. In an interview with a meat industry trade journal, a company spokesman said that deckhands clean the cattle manure once every three days. The sheep, on the other hand, live in their own feces for the entire journey.

Live cattle on a typical transport live

Live cattle on a typical transport live

The government says that the animals shipped to Mexico will be used for breeding. Activists, however, are skeptical, as animals were reported to have been killed upon arrival during the last live export shipment to Mexico in 2007, when the government gave the same assurance.

Your Turn

Please join the campaign to ban live exports from New Zealand and Australia.


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Atrocities Exposed in Secret Investigations Trigger Parliament Members To Condemn Live Exports

June 16, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

With an onslaught of videos exposing shocking abuses of Australian cattle, sheep and other animals shipped to foreign countries for slaughter, the campaign to ban live exports from Australia has reached a tipping point. And Members of Parliament (MPs) are finally speaking out:

“How many more exposés do we need before the government finally acts decisively to outlaw this vile trade?” – Andrew Wilkie, MP

“It seems there is no fate too cruel for Australian animals that would cause this government to pause.” – Melissa Parke, MP

“This abuse simply cannot continue to occur. My electorate has had enough. And so have I.” – Michelle Rowland, MP

The long-awaited criticism from elected officials comes on the heels of new undercover investigations in Vietnam and Israel, two of the 19 countries to which Australia ships over three million live animals for slaughter each year.

In May, Animals Australia documented workers in Vietnam using sledgehammers to kill Australian cattle. The footage is so “shocking” and “distressing” that the organization decided not to release it.

Vietnamese workers slaughter Australian cattle with sledgehammers

Vietnamese workers slaughter Australian cattle with sledgehammers

In spite of the live export industry’s own admission that they cannot track the animals once they arrive in Vietnam, the Australian government has continued to allow weekly shipments.

Just three weeks after exposing the atrocities in Vietnam, Animals Australia released footage of workers in Israel slitting the throats of Australian cattle while they were still conscious and then hanging them upside down. The footage, which also shows workers dragging cattle by their legs and tails, prompted Israeli authorities to shut down the slaughterhouse, the largest in Israel.

Advocates argue that ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System), a program introduced in 2011 to protect Australian animals shipped abroad for slaughter, does not – and cannot – work, as tracking millions of animals once they arrive in foreign countries is logistically impossible.

Live sheep exported from Australia

Live sheep exported from Australia

In fact, Australian authorities cannot even protect animals in the slaughterhouses that have their stamp of approval, as evidenced in the most recent undercover investigation in Israel.

Israel's largest slaughterhouse, which had the stamp of approval by Australian authorities, was shut down after Animals Australia released footage of cattle being tortured during the slaughter process.

Israel’s largest slaughterhouse, which had the stamp of approval by Australian authorities, was shut down after Animals Australia released footage of cattle being tortured

In spite of mounting evidence demonstrating the failure of ESCAS, Australia’s Agricultural Minister, Barnaby Joyce, continues to defend and even promote it, describing it as a “model” welfare program that other countries should emulate. But his remarks are beginning to wear thin with Members of Parliament, who have received an onslaught of calls from constituents in recent years.

“To the people who have taken the time to contact me about this, I want to say that your activism is really having an impact,” -Clare O’Neil, MP

“Constituents are contacting my office in astonishing numbers.” – Adam Bandt, MP

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Had Animals Australia not sent undercover investigators into Vietnam and Israel, the abuses would have never been exposed. Footage from these and 33 other investigations demonstrates that ESCAS cannot protect animals, even in countries that have legal protections in place for them.

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

In Australia’s live export trade, abuse is not limited just to the countries where the animals are shipped. During the overseas journeys, which can last up to several weeks, animals get sick and die in their cramped spaces on the ships. According to Animals Australia, millions of animals have died during transport.

Photo: Animals Australia

Live export ships can transport tens of thousands of animals in cramped spaces (photo: Animals Australia)

Live export of sheep from Australia to the Middle East and Asia

Australian sheep are unloaded from a transport ship in the Middle East

In recent years, the fight to ban Australia’s live export trade has gone global. On April 15th, animal rights activists in the United States staged a protest at the Australian consulate in Los Angeles. The organizer, Loretta Smalls, said it was “a show of solidarity with thousands of our Australian brothers and sisters who are fighting to ban the horrific practice.” In Israel, the group Against Live Transports has employed street theater to educate the public as part of its growing campaign to outlaw the importation of live animals from Australia.

Israeli activists as animals

Israeli activists use street theater to protest the importation of live animals from Australia

Your Turn

To find out how you can help end the live export trade, please visit Animals Australia.


Filed under: Food, Investigations
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Australia & China Inching Closer to Horrific Live Export Deal

November 24, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

For the past several years, Australia and China have been working on an agreement which, when signed, could lead to Australia shipping up to one million live cattle to China each year. The deal is being finalized at a time when local and international opposition to live exports has reached a fever pitch due to the extreme animal abuse exposed in undercover investigations.

TV journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell speaks to Tanya Hardy, a veteran activist in Australia, about the deal with China and the cruelty of live exports.

According to Animals Australia, “Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 30 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty.”  Following is one of many examples of extreme suffering experienced by animals exported from Australia.

Australia’s live export controversy has not received much media attention in the U.S., but the impending $1 billion deal with China is so substantial that the New York Times wrote a story about it. At the end of the lengthy article, the Times mentions – and virtually dismisses – the humane issues, leading readers to believe that they have been adequately addressed:

“The leader of the exporters’ group, said that all animals exported from Australia were closely tracked and that there were strict regulations about their welfare before export, during shipping and even after they landed in a foreign country. The regulations were tightened after export bans were imposed after accusations of cruelty in some Indonesian slaughterhouses.”

Cattle being loaded onto ship

Cattle being loaded onto ship

Your Turn

Send a message to the Australian embassy in your country.

please visit Ban Live Export for more information about Australia’s grisly live export trade and to find other ways you can help.


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Australia to Resume Live Animal Exports to Iran

May 29, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Australia is set to resume the export of sheep and cattle to Iran after a 30-year ban. Hundreds of thousands of animals are already exported by boat to the Middle East each year, but the industry experienced a financial set back when exports to Indonesia were temporarily banned in 2011 after Australian TV aired graphic footage “showing brutal treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.” Regarding the resumption of exports to Iran, Australian lawmaker Andrew Wilkie said, “That is just appalling news. The fact is that the live-animal export trade is systemically cruel.” In 2011, thousands of people around the country marched against live animal exports.

News & Opinion

According to the animal rights group Animals Australia, “Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 30 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty.” For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit Ban Live Export.


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