The new regulations span the whole supply chain and will go to Cabinet for final approval. The first of these regulations are planned to be in place for this calving season and are as follows:
- That young calves must be at least four days of age and physically fit before they are transported for sale or slaughter.
- Setting a maximum duration of 12 hours journey time for young calves being transported for sale or slaughter.
- Prohibiting the transport of young calves by sea across the Cook Strait.
- Prohibiting the killing of any calves by use of blunt force trauma, except in an emergency situation.
The majority of farmers already meet these regulations as they have good processes and practices in place which mainly match the existing minimum standards.
Three further regulations will be introduced next year to ensure enough time to make any changes necessary. These include:
- Proposed February 2017: that young calves must be fed at least once in the 24 hours prior to slaughter.
- Proposed August 2017: suitable shelter be provided for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter.
- Proposed August 2017: that loading and unloading facilities be provided and used when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter.
The regulations follow two months of public consultation by the Ministry for Primary Industries and are part of a wider programme of work by farmers, industry and government to strengthen bobby calf welfare.
Eight organisations formed the Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 to accelerate and add to existing measures aimed at ensuring everyone involved with bobby calves applies best practice in their handling and care.
The Bobby Calf Action Group includes 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.
DairyNZ is making sure farmers are supported in making any changes on farm by working with others in the supply chain, helping farmers to make sure calves are fit for transport and ensuring farmers have suitable facilities for loading.
For advice, resources and training events to help farmers meet their obligations around calving and calf care: dairynz.co.nz/calves
For further information on the new regulations, visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website: mpi.govt.nz