28 Feb 2009

'Stress-causing' sheepdogs banned from meatworks

8:30 pm on 28 February 2009

The country's largest meat company has banned sheepdogs from its meatworks because of concerns about animal welfare and meat quality.

Silver Fern Farms chairperson Eoin Garden says the company will phase out the use of dogs in its meatworks yards in the coming year, relying instead on shepherds to shift the stock.

Mr Garden says there's a body of evidence that undue stress on animals can affect the quality and tenderness of meat.

But Federated Farmers animal welfare spokesperson Lachlan McKenzie doubts that. He says he accepts that the company has made a commercial decision but doubts whether it will have a significant impact on the sheep.