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Hammer blow to kill calves now illegal

Wednesday 4 Jun 2014 2:45 p.m.

MPI is working with the dairy industry to ensure training is available for farmers in alternative methods

MPI is working with the dairy industry to ensure training is available for farmers in alternative methods

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It will be illegal for farmers to kill calves by hitting them on the head from this calving season, the Government says.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today confirmed the use of blunt force to euthanise calves will now be ruled out, except in unforeseen emergencies.

The code of welfare for dairy cattle will be reissued with amendments covering the humane destruction of calves on farms. It will come into effect on June 13 - ahead of this year's calving season.

Earlier this year, 357 submissions to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) largely supported banning the use of blunt force to euthanise bobby calves.

"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," Mr Guy said.

Officials will ensure that training is available for farmers in alternative methods such as the captive bolt.

The change comes following publicity about a New Zealand farmer on a New Zealand-owned farm in Chile putting down bobby calves by hitting them on the head with a hammer. The practice is illegal in Chile.

Bobby calves are less than 30 days old. They are taken from their mothers so the mother can be milked and are surplus to dairy industry requirements.

NZN

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