New rules for bobby calves confirmed

New regulations to strengthen the law around the treatment of bobby calves have been officially gazetted today and most will be in place for the 1 August Spring calving season, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.“As signalled earlier this year, these regulations have now been confirmed by Cabinet. They are an important step in protecting animals and New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible producer,” says Mr Guy.“They set clear standards and include a wider set of compliance tools including the ability to issue infringement notices for lower level offending, and broader prosecutable offences.The changes coming into effect on 1 August 2016 include:

  • Requiring 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.
  • Prohibiting the transport of young calves by sea across Cook Strait.
  • Prohibiting the killing of any calves by use of blunt force to the head, except in an emergency situation.

“These regulations follow two months of public consultation and were widely supported.“Most farmers care for their animals and good operators will not notice much difference.”Three further regulations will be introduced under a delayed start date to provide enough time to make the business changes necessary. These regulations include:

  • Maximum time off feed before slaughter (no more than 24 hours after the calf was last fed on farm).  (Taking effect on 1 February 2017).
  • Requiring that loading and unloading facilities be provided and used when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter. (Taking effect on 1 August 2017).
  • Requiring that suitable shelter be provided for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter. (Taking effect on 1 August 2017)

“I want to thank the Bobby Calf Action Group for all their valuable input throughout the process.The new regulations are part of a suite of wider initiatives being undertaken by Government and all of the industries involved with bobby calves to ensure best practice.More information on the new regulations covering a range of animal welfare areas is available at www.mpi.govt.nz/calves

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