Ag Minister announces members of taskforce on winter grazing

Environmentalist Angus Robson has been appointed to a taskforce set up to look at the farming practice of winter grazing, and concerns about animal welfare.

Winter crop grazing is used in some parts of the country to provide enough feed for stock at a time when there's not enough pasture.

Robson launched a campaign to highlight what he said were animal welfare issues around the practice, releasing photos of mudbound cows in Southland.

It prompted the Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor to establish a taskforce to look into winter grazing, saying that the photos were unacceptable to him.

O'Connor has now announced the ten members of the taskforce, which include industry and farming representatives, as well as environmentalist Angus Robson.

Damien O'Connor set up the taskforce after images emerged of mudbound cows in Southland.
Damien O'Connor set up the taskforce after images emerged of mudbound cows in Southland. Photo credit: Newshub

"My expectation of this group is to do a stocktake of the multiple initiatives that are already underway to promote good winter grazing practices and identify why these are not currently working for all," said O'Connor

"Then we need to come up with actions as to how we can get farmers where they should be," he said.

He said the taskforce would draw on advice and expertise from various groups and individuals across the country who can inform and challenge the taskforce's thinking.

One of the photos of mudbound cows in Southland.
One of the photos of mudbound cows in Southland. Photo credit: Supplied/Angus Robson.

It would provide an initial report back to the Minister by the end of August and work on a plan of action by the end of September.

The 10 members of the taskforce on winter grazing are:

·       Independent Chair: Dr John Hellstrom, ONZM

·       Dr Arnja Dale, Chief Scientific Adviser, SPCA

·       Dr Helen Beattie, Chief Veterinary Officer, NZ Veterinary Association

·       Dr Stephen Hopkinson, dairy cattle vet & NZ Veterinary Association

·       Angus Robson, environment campaigner

·       Dr Ross Monaghan, Senior Scientist, AgResearch

·       Elaine Cook, Dairy NZ

·       Dave Harrison, Beef+Lamb NZ

·       Ewen Mathieson, dairy farmer, Southland

·       Pania King, sheep & beef farmer, Gisborne

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz