New animal welfare laws for dairy cattle brought in last
Friday will mean farmers will no longer be able to kill
calves using blunt force to the head.
Earlier this month, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy
confirmed the use of blunt force to euthanise calves would
now be ruled out, except for in the case of an emergency.
In February this year, Mr Guy had approached the National
Animal Welfare Committee (Nawac) for advice on euthanising
calves by manual blunt force on farms.
More than 350 submissions were received on the issue, with a
large number supporting the proposed change.
The code of welfare for dairy cattle has now been updated and
put in place in time for the 2014 calving season.
''The code states explicitly that calves must not be killed
by the use of blunt force trauma caused by a blow to the
head, except in unforeseen emergencies,'' Mr Guy said.
The move was backed by both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ
with both organisations looking forward to working with
veterinarians and farmers across the country to teach safe
practices and the right techniques.
Federated Farmers Co-Animal Welfare spokesperson Willy
Leferink said euthanising any animal required great skill to
achieve rapid death and this was a skill not everyone was up
for due to obvious reasons and they were grateful the code
''No matter what method is used, we believe death must be
swift and confirmed before the animal is left.''
Industry bodies DairyNZ and the Dairy Companies Association
of New Zealand agreed that blunt force should only be
reserved for unforeseen emergencies where better alternatives
were not immediately available.
DairyNZ strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Dr
Rick Pridmore said the change in code gave clarity to farmers
throughout New Zealand and they were now working with the
Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure that training and
support was available for farmers in alternative methods such
as the use of a captive bolt.
''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.''