Use of blunt force on calves banned

The use of blunt force to euthanise calves will now be ruled out, except in unforeseen emergency cases, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says.

In February this year, the Minister asked the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) for advice on euthanising calves on farms by manual blunt force. NAWAC received 357 submissions during consultation and a large proportion supported the proposed changes to the code.

“NAWAC concluded that on balance manual blunt force trauma as a routine method for killing calves is not acceptable and should be only reserved for unforeseen emergencies,” says Guy.

The code of welfare for dairy cattle will be now reissued with amendments covering the humane slaughter of calves on farms, and will come into effect on 13 June 2014 – ahead of this year’s 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,” says Guy.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries is working with the dairy industry to ensure that training is available for farmers in alternative methods such as the use of a captive bolt. All operators must be suitably trained and competent.

“New Zealand has a world leading animal welfare reputation to live up to. It matters to New Zealanders and to international consumers of our animal products,” says the Minister.

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