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Voices for the Voiceless: 47,500+ New Zealanders reject plans to restart live exports by sea

15 June 2024

New Zealanders are sending the National-led coalition a clear message that cannot be ignored; a petition laden with signatures firmly opposing the revival of live export of farmed animals on arduous, sweltering, and unpredictable sea voyages.

Voices for the Voiceless: 47,500+ New Zealanders reject plans to restart live exports by sea

The petition, which calls on the government to protect the ban on live export by sea, is led by esteemed retired veterinarian Dr John Hellström ONZM and championed by SPCA alongside World Animal Protection, Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Aotearoa (VAWA), Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE), Animals Aotearoa, Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), Animal Save Aotearoa, and End Live Export New Zealand.

With 47,500 online signatures and thousands more on paper forms still to be tallied by SPCA’s science team, the growing public disapproval is evident, especially when compared to the 33,000 signatures collected in 2019 calling for the ban.

SPCA says the petition numbers show the government lacks a mandate to restart the unpopular trade. The charity’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr Arnja Dale says it’s almost impossible to find anyone in favour of it.

“New Zealanders seem confused and bewildered as to why the government would reverse a ban that was such a progressive move for animal welfare and the country’s reputation, globally.

“To all the people who signed the petition, from the farmers to the trade and animal welfare specialists, and those who participated at their local SPCA op-shops, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. Thank you for showing that respect and kindness extends to our farmed animals, and that their animal welfare matters” Dr Dale says.

Dr Hellström says he’s been blown away by the support he’s received from all corners of the country.

"I’m immensely proud of everyone who has put so much effort into this cause. We have support from across the political spectrum from Takapuna to Māngere and Waikato to Awatere, town and country, left to right, young and old. We are united in our stand that none of us want this trade to re-start.”

The petition has the support of thousands of New Zealanders and will be handed over to parliament in the company of animal advocates and guest speakers on 25 June. Members of the public and media are warmly invited to attend.

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