The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking farmers to be ready for new bobby calf regulations coming in this season.
"The new requirements for bobby calf shelter and loading come in to play on 1 August and we want to make sure everyone is well aware and prepared," says Paul Dansted, MPI's Director Animal and Animal Products.
"Calves need to be provided with shelter that keeps them warm and dry, and loading facilities that allow them to walk onto trucks."
7 new regulations in total were announced last calving season. 4 came in to force in August last year, and for spring calving farms, there are 3 more that will apply this season. These are:
- young calves must be slaughtered as soon as possible when they arrive at slaughter premises, and within 24 hours of the last feed on farm (came in to force 1 February 2017)
- shelter must be provided for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter (comes in to force 1 August 2017)
- loading and unloading facilities must be provided and used when young calves are transported for sale or slaughter or as a result of sale (comes in to force 1 August 2017).
"Ultimately, the regulations are about protecting the welfare of calves. Last year we saw a significant reduction in problems with bobby calves, and we thank everyone across the supply chain who contributed to that. We are keen to see more improvements this year once all of the regulations are in play."
"The shelter and loading facility regulations don't give specific building requirements, so this allows farmers, saleyard operators, processors and transporters to find a solution that works for them."
"The new regulations also require calves to be slaughtered as soon as possible on arrival at the processing plant. To meet this regulation, the Meat Industry Association (MIA) has played a big part in putting systems in place to track when the calves were last fed and collected from the farm."
Communicating the new regulations has been a considerable industry wide effort. MPI is working with stakeholders across the bobby calf supply chain to reach as many affected people as possible. This included working with DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Meat Industry Association, dairy companies, transport companies, stock agents and saleyard managers, and veterinarians.
"Collectively, we have pushed out information through field days, workshop events across the country, training, rural and professional publications and newspapers, newsletters and emails, on-farm resources, web and social media content," says Dr Dansted.