“The Government’s emotive decision to ban live exports ignores the evidence and is a kick in the guts for the rural sector”, says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson and dairy farmer Mark Cameron.

“Live exports represent a critical revenue stream for the rural sector.

“Orders for this year are around 150,000 cattle at a value of $500 million, according to David Hayman from the Animal Genetics Trade Association.

“Dairy cows exported live can earn a farmer between $1800 and $2000, but on the local market fetch between $1400 and $1600.

“This ban won’t improve animal welfare because live exports from New Zealand will be replaced by exports from other countries with lower animal welfare standards.

“Farmers care about how their animals are treated for and some have travelled to China to check on them.

“Animal welfare issues have also been addressed with additional requirements for cattle to be well looked after in China.

“Farmers already need to jump through a number of regulatory hoops.

“Cattle need to have blood samples taken, be put through a quarantine period, and meet particular overseas market requirements.

“The ban on live exports is an emotive and costly decision from the Government and ACT would overturn it.”