4 Sep 2020

Stockman defends cattle ship conditions

From Morning Report, 6:37 am on 4 September 2020

The search is continuing for the cargo ship, the Gulf Livestock 1, which is believed to have capsized and sunk after it lost an engine during a typhoon in the East China Sea.

The 43-strong crew onboard included two New Zealanders and the ship was carrying nearly 6000 cows.

The Gulf Livestock 1 has now been missing for 48 hours after sending a distress message in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Only one crew member, a 45-year-old from the Philippines, has been rescued, he was pulled from the sea wearing a life jacket and told the Japan Coast Guard the ship's engine failed, then it was hit by a freak wave and capsized.

What's also raising concern for searchers is another typhoon is headed towards the area the ship is believed to have gone down..

The tragedy has prompted the Green Party's animal welfare spokesperson and the organisation SAFE to both call for the end to livestock transported by sea.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has now temporarily suspended live cattle exports.

John Reekers is a farmer who acted as a stockman on a similar ship from Napier to China.

He says conditions on livestock ships have been misrepresented, and the animals are actually treated very well.