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New Code Of Welfare For Dairy Cattle Released

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Carter
David Carter

Agriculture Minister David Carter has today issued a new code of animal welfare which sets down minimum standards for the farming of dairy cattle. Mr Carter says the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010 provides clear guidelines about the handling and management of dairy cattle and leaves farmers in no doubt about the standards of welfare they should meet. The new code covers all areas of dairy cattle management from stockmanship and husbandry practices, to food and water, shade and shelter, and health. This is the first time such a code has been issued.

"It aims to encourage all those involved in the farming of dairy cattle to adopt the highest standards of handling and care," says Mr Carter. "Like all codes of animal welfare, this is particularly directed at the worst players in the industry, not the best ones."

Failure to comply with minimum standards may lead to prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act. The new code has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) in consultation with the dairy industry and animal welfare and veterinary groups. Submissions were also sought from the public. "The dairy industry has been instrumental in drawing it up and I applaud its proactive approach on animal welfare. Its continued leadership is vital to ensuring that the standards in this code are met," says Mr Carter.

The Minister acknowledges that one area not covered is the long-term or permanent housing of dairy cattle, such as recently proposed in the Mackenzie Basin.

"The 2010 code was not developed with this in mind because the issue had not arisen. Long-term housing of dairy cattle in New Zealand is a relatively new concept and the animal welfare aspects are not yet fully known. I have asked NAWAC to provide me with separate advice on this matter."

Mr Carter says that in the interests of ensuring immediate animal welfare gains for the majority of dairy cattle in New Zealand, he is issuing the new code as it stands.

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