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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.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Sandy first says:

    Stop this insane cruelty

  2. LOGANATHAN says:

    respected sir please consider my resume.. am having 10 years heavy experience in sheep farms and sir i want sponsorship also sir GIVE ANY JOB SIR RELATED TO B TECH MARINE ENGINEERING

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  4. annetjie benadie says:

    Stop this!!!!!

  5. Tessan says:

    This is sick! Terrible!!

  6. Red says:

    Nada left Mazatlan at midday 30 June.
    Heading south to collect its next live shipment.

    One (albeit remote)possibility is that it will go through the Panama Canal ,up the coast to Vera Cruz (close to where the sheep are supposedly heading)and collect the same sheep and their (now) newborn lambs and off to the MidEast for the next Hajj festival on 24 September.
    This would get around the New Zealand ban on live exports for slaughter..

    see also:



  8. mary arredondo says:

    I dispise all animal cruelty

  9. Lydia Szczesny says:

    Grausam,das soll aufhören!!!!Sofort!!

  10. Natasha Brenner says:

    I can’t read this or look at the pictures. I wish there were a hell, so all those responsible could go there!

  11. Sylvia Ziejewski says:

    This is absolutely unethical and unacceptable. New Zealand is too advanced and intelligent to condone such monstrosity. As an American that travels worldwide- I refuse to visit your beautiful country if this is what you stand for.

    1. Red says:

      kia ora Sylvia,
      please read my comment below (in response to Ingrid W’s post)

  12. Elizabeth Hemmerdinger says:

    This makes me sick! And appalled by the actions of our own species…

  13. Fabrice Le Boedec says:

    viles bastards!

  14. Ingrid Wessel says:

    How thoughtless! What sort of monsters can think of doing this? Rather send your revolting people somewhere by ship!!

    1. Red says:

      Just to be clear : the overwhelming majority of Kiwis is against this type of shipment .
      It was our government who allowed this private (Saudi backed ?) deal to go ahead .
      So the movement of the ship and even its destination were kept from the public until the very last moment.

      From the local news site

      According to the director of the Mazatlan Port administration, Alfonso Gil Diaz,the animals were transported from the ship by a direct passage to trucks.
      “Here they will have pens because they can not take them all at once and they gradually go out because there are not enough specialized vehicles for this type of transfer,” he said. “There are 50 thousand sheep and do not know how many cows; sheep are for the State of Mexico and cows for Durango, Chihuahua and Coahuila.”

  15. Greg Lynch says:

    Too many people in this world suck.

  16. Red says:

    Saturday 27 June :the sheep are currently being offloaded.It will take until Tuesday to get them all off the ship .
    Afternoon temperatures in Mazatlan are around 30*C/86*F with a Heat Index of 50*C/
    Remember,these are pregnant ewes intended(it is claimed) for breeding purposes.
    How are they going to get to their(supposed)destination north of Mexico City 1000-km/630 miles away (10-15 hours by road or rail? How many trucks does one need to transport 50,000 sheep?
    What condition will the be in when they arrive?
    And where will the Nada go next? Follow it on callsign is HP7329)

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