Farmwatch releases more video of abused NZ calves video

RNZ

A major investigation by the activist group Farmwatch has unveiled video evidence of workers throwing days-old calves into trucks and dragging them by their limbs.

A new video showing bobby calves being thrown onto the back of trucks has emerged from animal rights group Farmwatch.

Calves being loaded onto trucks and dropped to the ground was filmed in August on farms throughout Taranaki and Waikato, RNZ reported.

More video showed that nothing had changed and that calf mistreatment was still common practice in the dairy industry, Farmwatch spokesman John Darroch said.

RNZ

Footage of bobby calves been thrown into trucks before been taken to the slaughterhouse has raised concerns among animal welfare groups. The Ministry for Primary Industries responds.

Hidden cameras at 10 dairy farms in Waikato and Taranaki took the footage in August. The video showed bobby calves being dragged and manhandled by farm workers while being loaded on trucks to be sent for processing on nine of the 10 farms filmed.

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It comes almost a year after a similar video was released by the activist group showing similar abuse and prompted the Ministry for Primary Industries to tighten up regulations around the treatment of newborn calves.

A bobby calf is loaded roughly into a truck in Taranaki.
FARMWATCH

A bobby calf is loaded roughly into a truck in Taranaki.

Darroch said the law changes had done little to improve farmer behaviour and showed such abuse was widespread within the industry.

"In failing to implement better standards, the New Zealand dairy industry is putting our international reputation at risk," he said.

VIDEO WARRANTS 'FULL INVESTIGATION'

A Waikato farmer drags a bobby calf from its mother along the ground by one leg.
FARMWATCH

A Waikato farmer drags a bobby calf from its mother along the ground by one leg.

Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE) said they were appalled by the video.

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Campaign manager Mandy Carter said the footage exposed that it was business as usual in the dairy industry.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is launching an investigation into Farmwatch footage featuring bobby calves being dropped, dragged and thrown.

More footage has been released, similar to this footage in 2015, showing abuse of bobby calves being loaded onto trucks.
SUPPLIED

More footage has been released, similar to this footage in 2015, showing abuse of bobby calves being loaded onto trucks.

MPI compliance operations manager Gary Orr said the covertly filmed footage warranted a full investigation.

"Throwing, dropping and dragging calves in the way the video shows is unacceptable. The behaviour we have seen is deeply disappointing given that MPI and industry have worked very hard to promote best practice in animal welfare ... leading into this bobby calf season."

 

A MPI investigation, launched last year when previous Farmwatch video was released, resulted in a prosecution and conviction for bobby calf abuse.

Another, related matter is before the courts, a MPI statement said.

"In addition, MPI has a number of live prosecutions related to the current bobby calf season."

MPI has about 16 dedicated animal welfare inspectors and other officers assisting in animal welfare for an estimated 12,000 dairy farms.

Orr said there was never going to be enough resources to monitor every farm.

BEHAVIOUR UNACCEPTABLE

While there was still work to do, it was important to remember that most dairy farmers were treating their animals with care and respect, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said.

Footage showing a calf being dragged through a paddock was "unacceptable" and a "particularly lazy act", he said.

The latest video could not be compared with last year's footage, which showed "abhorrent treatment" and cruelty of calves at a pet food processing plant.

"While some of the handling is rougher than we would like, the workers appear to be following the accepted practice of loading calves by rolling them rear end first. Despite perception, this is the best way to prevent calves from stepping back out of the truck and causing themselves harm," Mackle said.

A MPI statement that it had 16 animal welfare inspectors for the country prompted the Green Party to call for more funding for MPI.

"That's more than 100,000 calves per inspector which is just impossible," animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers said.

"This culture of rough handling of young animals has clearly not changed with more rules. The ministry needs to be out there, on the ground, inspecting and checking on the treatment of animals in New Zealand."

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 - Stuff

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