Ocean Drover, world's largest purpose built livestock carrier, visits Timaru
The world's largest, purpose-built livestock carrier, the Ocean Drover arrived in Timaru on Friday morning to collect a shipment of dairy heifers bound for China.
The shipment is a Fonterra initiative to supply its China dairy farms with livestock.
Half of the shipment will be loaded at Timaru and the remainder in Napier for a total shipment of approximately 8000 cows.
Fonterra Livestock Portfolio Director Fiona Carrick said the shipment was "one of our normal, scheduled animal shipments to support our farming operations in China."
"Since we started our farming operations in 2007, our preference has been to export animals from New Zealand and Australia so we can maintain our closed herd system and ensure optimum condition of the animals on our farms there.
"We are exporting in-calf heifers. These animals are specifically bred to perform well in the China farming environment and produce high quality milk."
New rules, announced on July 28, that will give the Ministry for Primary Industries greater visibility of the welfare of animals being exported from New Zealand will come into force on 25 August 2016,
The changes will give MPI's Director-General more powers to require reports on the welfare of animals during their journey and for up to 30 days after their arrival in the importing country.
The Ocean Drover was commissioned in 2002 by Wellard Group and is the world's largest, purpose-built livestock carrier capable of transporting 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle to major markets around the globe.
It is carries 1500 tonnes of animal fodder and can produce up to 600 tonnes of fresh water a day.
It's a team effort to manage these shipments to our high standards of safety and welfare and we'd like to acknowledge the support of both ports at Napier and Timaru.