Massive live sheep shipment leaves New Zealand
The New Zealand government defended its decision to allow 50,000 sheep and 3,000 cattle to be exported to Mexico for breeding purposes and not for slaughter.
The livestock carrier MV Nada, which is the size of two rugby pitches, left Timaru in New Zealand on Thursday morning (11 June) for a journey, which is expected to take two weeks.
Animal rights groups are concerned that the sheep, of which most are pregnant ewes, will become distressed, sick and dehydrated.
But New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said concerns about the welfare of the livestock on the vessel were misplaced.
Prime minister John Key told Radio New Zealand that strict animal welfare conditions were in place.
“The Mexicans have had a huge drought, and so lots of their breeding stock was wiped out, so they have asked us to send these sheep,” he said. ■