Details announced today for new regulations for the management and treatment of young calves are part of a wider programme of work by farmers, industry and government to strengthen bobby calf welfare.
The eight organisations that formed the Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 have accelerated and added to existing measures aimed at ensuring everyone involved with bobby calves applies best practice in their handling and care.
The Bobby Calf Action Group is made up of DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Meat Industry Association, Federated Farmers, New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers Association, Road Transport Forum, New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
“There has been a significant amount of commitment and work by the Group to advance initiatives that will impact on farms and during the transportation and processing of bobby calves,” says MPI’s Deputy Director General, Scott Gallacher.
“Farmers, industry and government have been working for some years on lifting the standard of care for bobby calves and that has been effective.”
“Last year’s footage of bobby calf mistreatment provided an impetus to accelerate the work programme,” says Mr Gallacher.
DairyNZ’s Chief Executive Tim Mackle says the issues go beyond the farm gate. “There are many players in the value chain and it was important that we got together to solve these issues,” says Mr Mackle.
“We saw some unacceptable behaviour last year and we are committed to eliminating it from the industry,” added Mr Mackle.
Mr Gallacher noted that MPI’s investigation into potential animal mistreatment following the release of the bobby calf footage is ongoing. A processing worker pleaded guilty to all 10 charges over alleged bobby calf offences when he appeared in court early June. MPI also laid a further four representative charges against a company and an individual last month in relation to alleged animal welfare offences involving bobby calves. The first hearing for those charges has been set down for late June 2016.