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New rules for bobby calves

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/06/2016

New rules around the treatment of bobby calves will be in place before the spring calving season.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says they strengthen existing regulations.

"I want to give farmers, transport operators and processors advance warning of these changes before the start of the calving season," he said on Friday.

There was uproar over the treatment of bobby calves when animal welfare group SAFE went public in November with a video showing bobby calves being thrown, kicked, beaten and dead in cages.

SAFE had set up hidden cameras on 12 farms and a slaughter house, saying bobby calves were being treated as a waste product of the dairy industry.

Mr Guy's ministry laid charges and earlier this month Waikato farmer Noel Erickson pleaded guilty to 10 charges of animal cruelty or ill-treatment.

MPI's investigation is ongoing.

The new rules include:

* Calves must be at least four days old and physically fit before they are transported for sale or slaughter

* Maximum travel time will be 12 hours

* Transport across Cook Strait will be prohibited

* The killing of any calves by use of blunt force, except in an emergency situation, will be prohibited.

Further regulations will be introduced in February and August next year:

* Calves must be fed at least once in the 24 hours prior to slaughter

* Suitable shelter must be provided before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter

* Loading and unloading facilities be provided and used

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