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New regulations for bobby calves

Published: 17th August 2016

Author: Sarah Heald, Dorrington Poole

Published in: Rural e.Speaking | Issue #21

As the dairy industry enters the calving season it’s important to be familiar with the new regulations[1] announced in June this year around the management and treatment of bobby calves.

Only calves fit for transport are to present for collection. There are criteria to be measured including:

  • Being at least 4 days old (96 hours)
  • Be free from signs of any injury, disease, disability or impairment that could compromise the calf’s welfare (upright ears and bright eyes are signs for good health) during the journey
  • A dry navel
  • Worn hooves, and
  • The ability to stand and move freely and protect itself from being trampled and injured by other calves.

A maximum duration of 12 hours’ journey time for young calves is prescribed.

The new regulations also prohibit the killing of any calves by use of blunt force to the head unless there’s an emergency situation.

Three further regulations will be introduced in 2017. These include:

  • Young calves must be fed at least once in the 24 hours prior to slaughter
  • Suitable shelter for the calves is to be provided before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter, and
  • Loading and unloading facilities are to be provided and used when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter.

The regulations provide that in a prosecution for an offence against these regulations it’s not necessary for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant intended to commit an offence.

Penalties range from $500 to $25,000.

Farmers need to ensure they and their staff comply with the regulations.

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