Protesters have come out at Napier Port to oppose live animal exports as the ship Dareen arrived on Sunday to transport 7300 live cattle to China.
Livestock ship Dareen arrived at Napier Port on Sunday to transport 7300 cows for breeding to develop the dairy and livestock industries in China, MPI confirmed.
About six people who oppose live exports protested outside Napier Port on Sunday after hearing about the export.
Neville and Caz Pettersson think the live export of animals is cruel.
"It just doesn't seem right that, that many cows, which are supposed to be on land, are getting put on a boat and sent to China," protester Caz Pettersson said.
Gareth Scurr, another protester, said "someone needs to be a voice" for the animals.
"Here in New Zealand we recognise cows as being sentient but we don't treat them as such.
"We put them in this hellish environment – stuck on a ship for 20 odd days - then we send them to a country with no animal welfare laws," he said.
Scur said that even if the animals are being exported for breeding, they will eventually be slaughtered. Neville and Caz are also concerned about how animals may be slaughtered in the destination country.
Last week Safe raised similar concerns following an investigation by Australian Federal agencies into the inhumane slaughter of Australian cattle in Indonesia.
Safe campaigns manager Marianne Macdonald said there is no way to stop the suffering of animals when they arrive and that animals may likely be conscious when their throats are cut for slaughter.
An MPI spokesperson previously told Hawke's Bay Today that on-board animals are given food, water and space, and medicine and equipment is on hand for sick animals.
While MPI has no jurisdiction in foreign countries, the importer has to provide a report on how the animals travelled within 20 working days of the voyage ending, and 30 days after the animals arrive a report on the condition of the animals is also required.
Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor said that the importers have a commercial investment in the cows so "it is in their interests to ensure they are well cared for and maintained in excellent condition".
Throughout the day walkers and cars passing had been supportive, protester Neville Petterson said.
"A lot didn't even realise this still happens," Neville said.
Earlier in the week there was a protest in Taranaki which inspired Caz to protest today.
The three protesters are vegan but Caz says you don't have to be vegan to oppose live exports.
"You don't have to stop eating steak to think that it's not okay, you can still be a meat eater and not support live export," she said.
O'Connor said that decisions from a review into live exports have been delayed because the Government needs to prioritise the response to and recovery from Covid-19.
"Until the outcomes of the review are determined, MPI will continue to consider applications for the export of cattle, deer, goats and sheep (livestock) under the current law," he said.