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New Zealand Takes Action on Bobby Calf Mistreatment

10 March 2016

NEW ZEALAND - The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has laid charges against an individual in relation to an investigation into animal welfare offences involving bobby calves.

Allegations of bobby calf abuse were made last year after an animal welfare organisation released an undercover video. MPI said it had been presented with many hours of footage and began an investigation in September 2015.

Investigators are still pursuing other lines of enquiry, but the industry also took action by setting up an action group to ensure best practice in handling and management of bobby calves.

The Bobby Calf Action Group is working on a number of new initiatives, and other initiatives were already underway but were being accelerated.

The initiatives include awareness campaigns, reviews of various codes of practice, more investment in research, and extra visits by MPI officials to familiarise farmers with their legal responsibilities.

The MPI has also begun an advertising campaign encouraging people to let it know if they come across the mistreatment of livestock.

“The vast majority of livestock owners care for their animals, but there is a very small minority who don’t, and they let the rest down,” said MPI’s Deputy Director General of Regulation and Assurance, Scott Gallacher.

“We saw from the response to last year’s allegations of bobby calf abuse just how much farmers care.

"There was a pretty clear voice from the farming community that animal abuse is not on. We agree, and we want to work with farmers and other livestock owners to do something about it to ensure that any abuse is identified and acted on.

“The advertisements encourage people to let us know if they see things that don’t look right, and how to do that.”

“MPI places a high priority on animal welfare. We know it’s important to people, it’s clearly important to the animals and it’s important to New Zealand’s reputation. When we get information about mistreatment of animals, we investigate. When there is offending, people are held to account.”

People who become aware of potential livestock abuse can call MPI confidentially on 0800 00 83 33.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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