Farmers want clear rules on culling of bobby calves

Farmers are behind the proposed review of the methods used to cull bobby calves but want the definition of an emergency situation clearly spelt out.

Last week, the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced he had instructed officials to open up discussion on a proposal to prohibit the use of blunt force to euthanise bobby calves on farms.

As part of the discussion, consideration would be given to "emergency cases'', when a farmer discovered a suffering animal in a remote location and only had access to limited equipment, Mr Guy said.

Federated Farmers supports the stance.

"Any review must set in stone that blunt force is an emergency measure, when there is no access to one of the approved methods and the time to get hold of one would only add to the animals' suffering,'' Federated Farmers vice-chairman Andrew Hoggard said.

Industry bodies DairyNZ and the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand endorse the move.

DairyNZ's strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Rick Pridmore, said there was a need for greater clarity in the code requirements.

"The aim is always to minimise unnecessary suffering. Farmers using any method must be suitably trained and skilled,'' Dr Pridmore said.

Public consultation will begin soon and a decision made mid-year.