The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) appears to be preventing Fonterra from effectively managing some aspects of its farmers’ environmental performance, says a discussion document from MPI.
That's the message from Ministry for Primary Industries director for animal health and welfare, Dr Chris Rodwell.
The 45 new regulations cover a range of species and activities including stock transport and farm husbandry.
“With under a month to go until these new regulations come into effect, we want to encourage people responsible for any type of animal to check they are up to date in how they are looking after them,” says Rodwell.
“Our team has been working with industry and sector groups to raise awareness of the regulations and ensure people understand and can meet their responsibilities.
“Most New Zealanders already care for their animals well, so if you’re already doing the right thing you won’t see a lot of change.
“The majority of the regulations reflect existing standards, but there are a few that set new rules and requirements, such as prohibiting the tail docking of cows and dogs.”
One of the main changes is that the new regulations will make it easier for MPI and the SPCA to take action against animal mistreatment.
“These regulations will allow us to better respond to lower levels of offending and target specific behaviours that need to change.
“For example, if people allow their animal’s horns to become ingrown, they can be fined $500. We will continue to prosecute the worst offenders under the Animal Welfare Act.”
In developing the regulations, current science, good practice, and the views of submitters were taken into consideration.
The main changes pertaining to the dairy industry are:
Stock transport: stock must be fit for trucking and animals with injured or diseased udders cannot be trucked. This includes a necrotic udder, an udder that has a discharge other than milk, an udder that shows signs of inflammation (such as being red, hot or swollen) and an udder with a lesion that is bleeding or discharging without a veterinary certificate. This can attract fines from $1500 for an individual to $7500 for a corporate body.
Tail docking: a farmer must not shorten or remove the tail of any cattle beast. A conviction can attract fines from $3000 for an individual to $15,000 for a corporate body. A farmer has a defence to a prosecution if they were required to urgently dock the tail because of an accidental tail injury in order to prevent excessive bleeding or further injury to the beast. Tail docking can also be done under certain circumstances under veterinary supervision with pain relief.
Assisting calving cows: no use of traction with a moving vehicle, motorised winch or any other device that does not allow for the quick release of tension for the purposes of calving cows. Fines range from $3000 to $15000.
Castration: when castrating or shortening the scrotum of a bull over the age of six months, pain relief must be used (for any method of castration). If high-tension bands are used to castrate an animal, local anaesthetic must be used for pain relief at any age (note that high-tension bands are not standard castration rubber rings). There are also restrictions on who can do a castration. Fines range from $3000 to $15000.
Disbudding: pain relief must be authorised by a veterinarian at all ages of an animal (from October 2019). There are restrictions on who can carry out the procedures. Fines from $3000 to $15000.
Dehorning: pain relief authorised by a veterinarian required at all ages (from October 2019). Fines range from $5000 to $25,000