Thursday, 19 March 2015 15:54

Federated Farmers condemn breaches of animal welfare

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Federated Farmers is emphatic that farmers and trucking operators follow the animal welfare rules when taking stock to processing works, especially as drought conditions reduce animal feed in some parts of the country.

 Recently a picture of Jersey cows being transported across Cook Straight for slaughter, led to thousands of shares on Facebook, attacks on farming practices, and a complaint to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Federated Farmers animal welfare spokesperson, Andrew Hoggard, says the rules on stock welfare and stock transport are clearly laid out in Ministry for Primary Industries’ Codes of Welfare Practice.

“For transport, the trucker has to follow rules, such as keeping the animals fed and watered for long distance transport, but both the trucker and farmer are legally responsible for making sure that stock are suitable for transport at loading,” says Hoggard.

“When a farmer wants to transport stock off the property, if there is any doubt about suitability for transport then a vet ought to be consulted before loading.  That’s the rule and it is a good rule.”

Hoggard appreciates that there is a drought in many parts of the South Island and feed is getting tight but says that farmers have to plan ahead to budget extra feed in, or they need to quit their stock well before they become an animal welfare issue.

“We welcome the full investigation by MPI and will wait to see the results before commenting further.”

“For those farmers who are struggling with the drought there is support available through the Rural Support Trust and Federated Farmers Feedline. Do not cross your fingers and hope, take action now,” concludes Hoggard.

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