© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Calling for a quick death for live exports

Gerrit Gray Doppenberg
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Protesters outside the Bridge of Remembrance on Saturday   Gerrit Doppenberg

Protesters gathered outside Riverside market on Saturday to call for an accelerated end to live exports.

Activists gathered at Oxford Terrace on Saturday with placards and costumes to rally for an advance on the ban on live exports. 

Around 50 protesters marched through the streets of Christchurch, coming to a stop at the Bridge of Remembrance.  

They started chanting, calling on people to sign their petition to stop live exports now, accelerating the ban.  

Live exports are currently being phased out by the Government, to be fully banned by 2023.  

But Abe O’Donnell of the UC NZ Animal Law Assocation said it wasn’t good enough and was putting animals' lives in danger for little to no benefit.  

“These animals haven’t consented to going onto these ships. Unlike us, when we go on a cruise ship, they don’t have any space. 

He pointed to the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 boat as an example of the risks. The vessel capsized in the South China sea on September 2, leading to the deaths of 41 crew members and 5,867 cattle. Only two crew members survived. 

Will Applebee from SAFE New Zealand said it was also damaging to New Zealand's reputation as a clean, green country where animal rights are valued.

He said the countries live stock were sent to had shocking track records in animal welfare, naming China in particular. 

China doesn’t have a requirement to stun livestock before killing it – giving it a more humane death – which is the law in New Zealand.  

“If we don’t do it here, why would we send it to a country that allows it?”  


A protester leading a chant to ban live exports.
A protester leading a chant to ban live exports. Gerrit Doppenberg

In a speech announcing the ban, minister of agriculture Damian O’Connor said the trading of live export accounted for only 0.2 percent of the revenue generated by the primary industry, around $77 million in 2019.  

O’Connor said there was no reason it should not be banned now. 

He insisted excusing the practice for perceived economic benefits did not hold up when it came to continued animal rights violations.

Katie, one of the protestors who was dressed up as a cow, said it did not make sense not to ban it now.  

They say it’s economic growth, but it’s not. I’ve spoken to farmers all the way down to Timaru and they don’t actually support it. They’re not getting the gains from this. Only a select few are.”  

She said it was putting people off buying agricultural products from New Zealand, because they were not willing to make a stand for the issue.