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24 February 1998
A book providing small farm operators with what they need to know for success on their properties has been released by the Ministry of Agriculture's Quality Management section.
The publication "Animal Health and Welfare on Small Farms" provides practical information needed by small farm owners to diminish the chance of problems arising from a lack of knowledge and experience in good animal handling.
The book provides those unfamiliar to the farming scene with helpful tips, as well as the legal requirements which go along with owning animals.
Ownership of animals brings with it legal responsibilities which relate to both the duty of caring for the animal and to the animal's health. The proper care of an animal includes the provision of adequate food, water and shelter, whereas legal obligations relating to animal health include complying with measures that control diseases such as tuberculosis in cattle and deer.
For instance, the book suggests that to minimise the chance of Tb in your animal you should prevent the introduction of infected stock onto your property, eligible animals should be tested, and restrictions relating to the movement of cattle and deer should be observed.
"The ownership of animals should not be a burden. If they are you could find them detracting from the lifestyle you have chosen. Health, welfare and productivity are interrelated. A happy, healthy animal will always be a productive one," says Ross Burnell, MAF Quality Management Animal Welfare national service manager.
There are three sections in the book - Legal Responsibilities, Caring for Your Animals and Handling Techniques and Facilities. There is also a glossary of contacts for further advice.
Topics covered include stock yard design for small farms, making TB declarations and the paperwork involved, working dogs, branding, foot care, dehorning, internal and external parasites, poisonous plants and chemicals, organic fertilisers, target weights for livestock and prescription animal remedies.
Animal Health and Welfare on Small Farms can be bought at bookshops or by contacting your local MAF Quality Management office.