New Zealand’s government is expected to announce a plan which will see the end of live exports of livestock from the country, according to 1 News New Zealand.

The move comes amid greater scrutiny of conditions livestock are exposed to while at sea.

The industry was thrust into the spotlight after the Gulf Livestock 1 vessel capsized during September 2020 in the East China Sea after leaving Napier, New Zealand.

Forty-one crew members, including two New Zealanders died, alongside nearly 6,000 cattle.

New Zealand temporarily banned exports of live cattle, but allowed the industry to resume late last year, following promises of improvements to the process.

The first recorded live exports from New Zealand date back to the 1860s.

In 2020, New Zealand exported 109,921 live cattle – up from 39,269 in 2019.

It is expected that phasing out live exports could take up to two years, giving traders the opportunity to adjust to the new rules.

Sheep ban

In 2003 the practice came into focus when thousands sheep died aboard an Australian ship after being rejected by Saudi Arabia.

Export of sheep for slaughter was subsequently banned in 2003 and this was extended in 2007 to include cattle.

Livestock for breeding are currently the only animals allowed to be exported while alive.

There are concerns amongst New Zealand's agriculture sector around a potential backlash from China, the country's main live export destination.