Former Minister for Primary Industries, and retiring MP, Nathan Guy says his plans to invest more than $2 million in a new innovative dairy shed is a vote of confidence in the future of the dairy industry.
MPI has vets at nearly every processing plant and in the 2016 season the mortality rate for bobby calves between farm and processing has halved – from 0.25% to 0.12%.
“This is a drop of just over 50% and shows that new regulations and education campaigns have made a real difference,” says Guy.
Also, calves are arriving at plants in much better health and condition. “This is also a significant drop from 2008 when the mortality rate was 0.68%,” says Guy.
“The wider industry and MPI have put a lot of work into improving practices over recent years and they deserve recognition for this.
“While there are still a few in the industry who need to improve their behaviour, this provides strong evidence things are improving.”
This is the first season with tighter new rules for handling bobby calves. And from August 1 this year truckies will have to use loading and unloading gear when young calves are trucked for sale and slaughter, and they must have appropriate shelter.
Guy has acknowledged the industry groups who in late 2015 formed a Bobby Calf Action Group – DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, the NZ Veterinary Association, Road Transport Forum, Meat Industry Association, Dairy Companies
Association of NZ, the NZ Petfood Manufacturers Association and MPI.
“The Government strengthened the animal welfare system with $10 million in new funding in 2015 and passed the Animal Welfare Amendment Act to improve compliance and enforcement,” Guy says.