SPCA New Zealand
Animal Advocacy

Live Export

Animal Advocacy

Live Export

The Problem

LIVE EXPORT BAN UNDER THREAT! In April 2023 we celebrated the ban on live export, marking an end to decades of cruelty. To the horror of many New Zealanders, the incoming Government has vowed to bring back this cruel industry. We need your help to stop this.

There are multiple factors that impact upon the welfare of exported animals before, during and after the ship voyage; these include the conditions on the ship and the lack of control over their treatment at the destination country, as well as numerous changes in environment that the animals are forced to undergo over several weeks or months that can cause fear and anxiety. Research lists the major stressors on ship as exposure to clinical diseases, heat stress, high stocking density and high ammonia levels, and other stressors such as noise, motion sickness, changes in lighting patterns and novel environments.

The long-distance transportation of livestock overseas cannot be justified due to the multiple significant harms that animals are exposed to throughout the duration of the export. It is generally accepted that the longer and more complex the journey an animal makes, the greater the risk to its welfare.

The Timeline

SPCA has been advocating for a ban on all live export of farmed animals for decades. See key milestones of the path to a ban below.

1985 - Live export trade resumes

Since 1985 when the live export trade started up again, SPCA has actively advocated and worked tirelessly behind the scenes for a total ban on the live export of farmed animals for slaughter or breeding purposes.

2007 - Ban on live export of farmed animals by sea for slaughter

In 2007, we celebrated this huge win for animal welfare, however a loophole still allowed for farmed animals to be exported for breeding purposes

2020 - Reviews of live export

Alongside a multitude of meetings on the issue, New Zealand’s largest animal welfare charity submitted to the Government on this issue multiple times, including in January 2020 as part of the review of live export from New Zealand and in September 2020 as part of the Heron review commissioned after the Gulf Livestock tragedy.

2021 - SPCA writes to all Government Ministers urging for a ban

In March 2021, SPCA wrote directly to all Government Ministers to push for a complete ban on live export. Auckland Council, Cornwall Park Trust and all associated Councillors, CEO’s, Mayors and relevant Ministerswere also directly contacted earlier this month in relation to plans to export cattle from Cornwall Park. Thanks to the outcry, these cattle were not exported.

2021 - Ban on live export of farmed animals by sea for breeding announced

In 2021, the Government announced a ban on live export of farmed animals by sea for slaughter or breeding, thereby making New Zealand the first country in the world to ban this practice. This ban is due to come into effect on April 30, 2023.

2023 - Ban on live export of farmed animals by sea comes into force

From April 30, 2023, a ban on the live export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer will come into force, ending decades of suffering caused by long sea journeys.


The incoming government have committed to overturning the ban, a move which would condemn hundreds of thousands of animals to suffer.

SPCA and other organisations will continue to fight for the ban to stay in place, and we will need your help.

The horrors of live export belong in the past

Read more to find out why the proposed live export “Gold Standards” are a sham.

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