1 Oct 2009

Vets work with dairy industry to improve calf welfare

2:31 pm on 1 October 2009

[v] The Veterinary Association says animal welfare conditions for bobby calves have improved since the dairy industry started a surveillance programme to monitor them.

The young mainly bull calves are sent to meat plants for the veal trade because they're not wanted in dairy herds.

Vets have joined farmers and others in condemning the condition of starving calves found on a central North Island farm owned by the Crafar family.

More than 100 young calves on the Benneydale farm had to be put down and about 70 more were removed from the property.

The Veterinary Association supports the Minister of Agriculture's order for all the Crafars' farms to be inspected, while MAF continues its inquiry into the neglected calf case.

Association president Richard Wild says vets have been working with others involved in the bobby calf trade on a three-year surveillance project to improve their welfare.

The project has involved monitoring the welfare of bobby calves arriving at slaughter plants, and Mr Wild says there have been indications of dramatic improvements in the last season.

Mr Wild says there's an animal welfare code specifically for bobby calves and dairy and transport codes also cover the standards required for their care.