Farmer resources are being developed and staff training events will start next month.
In association with veterinarians, DairyNZ has a Welfare Matters – Calf Care workshop on bobby calf supply chain awareness, responsibilities and good practice advice being rolled out in May and June.
A DairyNZ CalvingSmart programme will train junior staff and farm managers. DairyNZ is also working with farmers and trucking operators to develop and agree practical advice and guidelines on how to ensure calves are fit for transport and loading.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says everyone in the supply chain is working together to ensure that all calves are well cared for.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has invested $250,000 on a comprehensive, scientific assessment to help understand the state of bobby calf welfare and examine data over two seasons, including the upcoming 2016 season.
The Road Transport Forum is developing and updating its guidelines for bobby calf handling and transport. The Meat Industry Association is working with processors to ensure that responsibilities regarding animal welfare are clearly understood across the value chain and the Petfood Manufacturers Association is reviewing its code of practice.
Showing you care - top tips for farmers
- Do your bit well – make sure your calves are fit for transport. Understand what fit for transport means.
- Help others to play their part (install loading facilities and/or be there to help load calves).
- Show you care. Show your transporter you’re doing your bit and that you expect them to do theirs responsibly.
- Make training a high priority for the team. Use the free resources and attend industry events to make sure everyone knows what to do.
- Act together – everyone needs to own the care of calves. If you see something that’s not right, help put it right.
Transporting bobby calves
- Before transporting, make sure that:
- calves are at least four days old (counted from arrival at the shed) before transport
- any calves, regardless of destination, are healthy, fit and strong
- pick-up is away from the roadside, with easy access for the truck.
- Make it easy for the truck driver
- Talk to your transporter about how to make loading easier. For example, use a ramp or raised pen.
- If you don’t have special loading facilities, be there to help and ensure that calves are handled with care.
Have your say
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has initiated other actions, including an animal welfare awareness campaign which encourages everyone who sees mistreatment of stock to report it to the MPI hotline – 0800 00 83 33.
MPI is also developing proposals for new regulations on the care and handling of bobby calves. A discussion paper is due out in April and industry bodies and farmers can make submissions on the proposals. Visit mpi.govt.nz
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2016