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Probe launched into new bobby calf video

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/10/2016

An investigation has been launched into a new round of hidden camera footage showing mistreatment of bobby calves on farms.

Activist group Farmwatch has released footage it says was taken in August on farms in the Waikato and Taranaki, which shows calves being dragged by their legs and thrown into trucks and the ground.

The release comes about a year after it released video of mistreatment that led to new rules being introduced in the industry.

Farmwatch's John Darroch said the new recordings showed the changes brought in by the Ministry for Primary Industries had not addressed the real issues.

He said the government needed to introduce compulsory cameras into trucks and slaughterhouses as a first step.

Ministry of Primary Industries compliance manager Gary Orr said the footage warranted the launch of a full investigation.

"The behaviour we have seen is deeply disappointing given that MPI and industry have worked very hard to promote best practice in animal welfare, in every part of the bobby calf supply chain,leading into this bobby calf season," he said.

"Additional regulations to safeguard the welfare of bobby calves will be introduced prior to bobby calf season next year.

The Green Party says the ongoing issues shows the government needs to get MPI more resources to investigate farms.

"This culture of rough handling of young animals has clearly not changed with more rules," animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers said.

"The ministry needs to be out there, on the ground, inspecting and checking on the treatment of animals."

Days before the new rules came into place in July, 38-year-old meat worker Noel Piraka Erickson was sentenced to home detention after being caught on camera slamming a calf into a concrete floor, and hitting another with a blunt axe after stringing it up on a hook while it was still alive.

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