News & Advice

Live export of cattle from NZ – an urgent plea

If any livestock agent offers a deal for the sale and export of your dairy or beef cattle – please remind them (the agent) and yourself that, until certain on-farm animal health export certificate conditions are met, those animals may not be going anywhere.

In other words, until certain mandatory export conditions for the farm of origin are met (and despite the best deal/sale price in the world), those animals will not be leaving your farm, let alone New Zealand.

It is essential that all livestock agents remind themselves and the animal owners that, until these export conditions are met, no-one should consider the deal to be happening.

During the past 12 months, livestock agents have been very active in sourcing mainly dairy but also beef cattle for export to China.

Unfortunately we have had a number of disappointed clients over this period – their animals have not been eligible for export, and that has come as a bad last-minute surprise to them. Apparently no discussion (about the need to meet certain animal health export criteria) was held with our clients when the deal was being framed up.

One notable complication that can derail these often very lucrative export deals, is the recent clinical diagnosis on farm of such common diseases as Johne’s, BVD and/ or IBR. A positive clinical diagnosis  for any of these diseases means that none of the animals from that farm can leave – ie the whole deal falls over.

Similarly, the use of certain IBR vaccines can cause individual animals to test positive for IBR, and this results in those individual animals not being eligible for export either.

So, to reiterate, our urgent plea is this: If any livestock agent offers a deal for the sale and export of your dairy or beef cattle – please remind them (the agent) and yourself that, until certain on-farm animal health export certificate conditions are met, those animals may not be going anywhere.

If any of our clients consider that the annual sale and export of some cattle is part of their business plan, then there are safe and effective strategies to implement on your farm – and Vetlife can advise you on how these can be achieved.

Generally such strategies require some forward planning, say 6 to12 to 24 months, ie they cannot be achieved overnight.

So please talk to us if your business plan includes the potential sale of livestock for export.

The disappointment for our clients is profound when the deal seems to be all but sorted (the payments pending) and suddenly, for what appears to be a ridiculous reason, the whole deal falls over.

These NZ and Chinese export protocols/rules have been in place for many years/decades now, but we still seem to be getting tripped up by forgetting about them.

Vetlife intends to hold a meeting later this year for all of our clients who may wish to know more about this whole subject. We also intend to invite the local livestock agents – to remind them of these important matters.

I trust that these few words are read by you, our clients. The declining of a number of export certificates over the last 12 months has been a really stressful and bombshell experience for us and our clients. With forward planning this is largely avoidable. Please talk to us and we can help you.

Best regards, Adrian Campbell (Vetlife Managing Director and veterinarian)