Ban on blunt force to euthanase calves

The ban on the use of blunt force to euthanase calves, except in emergencies, will come into effect today - ahead of this year's calving season.

After public consultation, the body charged with advising the Minister for Primary Industries on the welfare of animals has decided blunt force should not be routinely used to euthanase calves.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (Nawac) asked the public to have their say on the matter and received 357 submissions, a large proportion of which supported changes to the code of welfare for dairy cattle.

The Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010 has been reissued with amendments and will come into effect on Friday.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is working with the dairy industry to make training available to farmers in alternative methods of euthanasia such as the use of a captive bolt.

The use of manual blunt force to euthanase calves will now be ruled out, except in unforeseen emergency cases.

DairyNZ strategy and investment leader for sustainability Rick Pridmore said the changes to the code had provided clarity.

''Most dairy cattle, including calves, are generally not slaughtered on farms by farmers anyway but are sent to processing facilities.

''We have 21 training workshops planned for June and July that will cover humane slaughter on-farm, and we are also going to partner with veterinarians to deliver more workshops in the future,'' Dr Pridmore said.