IN THE NEWS: Damning expose reveals human side of live exports to Sri Lanka

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IN THE NEWS: On JUL 1, 2019

A damning exposé from Newsroom today reveals the full extent of the disaster that has resulted from New Zealand cows exported to Sri Lanka for dairy production.

A Sri Lankan farmer, Subhashini Kadurugasyaya, has opened up about how her family farm has been negatively impacted by their Government's dairy scheme. They purchased 66 New Zealand cows as part of the scheme, facilitated by Australian live export corporation Wellard Limited. Seventeen cows have since died, and the family is facing financial ruin while trying to keep the remaining cows alive.

SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald says Subhashini's story shows the human side of this live export disaster.

"Subhashini and her family were once award-winning farmers. Now they're likely to lose their farm," says Ms Macdonald.

"Tragically, Subhashini's story is not unique. Many farmers who bought New Zealand and Australian cows under this scheme are now facing financial ruin. Some have even become suicidal. Due to cultural restrictions on euthanasia, those cows have been forced to continue to suffer."

SAFE first alerted Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor to the plight of New Zealand cows in Sri Lanka in January, but he failed to take any action. A review into live animal export was only ordered after ABC News published their exposé on the Sri Lankan dairy scheme in April. As part of the review, the Government is now considering a conditional ban on the live export of cattle.

"While a positive step, a conditional ban on the live export of cattle will not go far enough, as it ignores the millions of other animals exported each year, including day old chicks, sheep and goats," says Ms Macdonald.

"The danger to animal welfare and our country's reputation from the live export trade is clear. When we export live animals, we undermine our own animal welfare laws. We cannot force other countries to adopt our laws, but we can stop exporting animals to them."

"SAFE launched a petition outside Parliament last month demanding the Government bans the live export of animals to countries with lower animal welfare, transport and slaughter practices. Over nine thousand people have already signed. We're calling on all caring Kiwis to sign our petition, urging the Government to make positive change for animals."

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