New regulation regarding treatment of bobby calves labelled 'mediocre'

Animal advocates have labelled new regulations regarding the treatment of bobby calves as 'mediocre.'

The rules established by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) come into effect today and include some changes to transport and shelter rules for animals.

The regulations are a combination of new and old standards with improved enforcement capability.

Immediate changes being implemented state calves must not be transported for more than 12 hours which previously had no limit.

It also stipulates that calves cannot be transported across the Cook Strait.

Further changes subject to a delay come into effect next year which state, calves must be fed in the 24 hours prior to slaughter, loading and unloading facilities and shelter must be provided before during and after transport of calves.

SAFE Campaigns Officer, Shanti Ahluwalia says, “At the end of the day, the government can write down whatever rules it wants, but they mean nothing if there is nobody checking on these farms. The government needs to implement regular random inspections.’

The mistreatment of calves was thrust into the limelight after hidden camera footage gathered by animal rights group Farm Watch surfaced.

MPI conducted and investigation after it received received many hours of footage recording alleged offences involving bobby calves in the Waikato region.

The investigation began in September last year and resulted in a number of charges being laid.

Ahluwalia says throwing calves is still not explicitly banned, starving calves for up to 24 hours prio to slaughter is permitted and no monitoring programmes will be put in place.

He says ““When it comes to animal welfare, the Ministry for Primary Industries lacks any sort of vision. They’re trumpeting these new rules, but what do they really mean for the animals? You may ‘only’ starve a calf for up to 24 hours?”

According to MPI "the amendments to the Act strengthen the protection of animals in New Zealand by allowing for stronger animal welfare standards, broadening enforcement powers, and other measures to improve the clarity and transparency of the animal welfare system."