Silence on condition of export cattle
The livestock carrier, Dareen, has unloaded its cargo of dairy heifers at China's Jingtan Port and is back at sea.
However, the health and welfare of the 7102 heifers during the voyage from Timaru is unknown.
The company that brokered the purchase of the cattle to a Chinese buyer, Landmark Global Exports, has ignored repeated requests for an interview.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has refused to release a voyage report to the animal welfare directorate because of "commercial sensitivities". The report would record any livestock deaths on the ship.
The exporter has to write the report as part of the conditions for it obtaining an animal welfare certificate. That report has to be submitted to the MPI within 10 working days of completing the voyage.
During the voyage, the carrier had five experienced and approved stock people on board, a communications plan to contact a veterinarian for advice if required, and supplies for veterinary treatment of ill and injured animals, as required by the MPI.
The Dareen's live cargo was the largest shipment of dairy cattle to leave Timaru. The stock were sourced from all over New Zealand, including farms from central and north Canterbury.
The shipment was the size of about nine Canterbury dairy herds.
The export of dairy cattle is growing as China builds up its dairy industry. New Zealand dairy cattle are sought after there because they are suited to China.
- © Fairfax NZ News