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Dry Cow Therapies And Bobby Calves

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responding to concerns expressed by farmers in relation to dry cow therapies and chemical residues in bobby calves.

If it is clear that residue levels in a bobby calf are due to any licensed dry cow therapy used in accordance with label instructions, farmers will not be prosecuted. Farmers are encouraged to keep accurate up to date records in compliance with the product Safety Programme.

New Zealand has had tight controls in place for several years to prevent the direct use of animal remedies on bobby calves. These young animals do not have sufficiently developed metabolism to efficiently reduce residue levels before slaughter. These controls ensure bobby veal meat does not contain chemical residues that could jeopardise our trade.

In the past five years the low number of residue cases identified by MAF have been related to calves presenting pathological conditions and condemned during ante or post mortem inspections. In most cases, residues were associated with the misuse or the accidental exposure to oral products.

It is also possible bobby calves may have been exposed to chemical residues from animal remedies used on cows. Guidelines were issued in the past on indirect exposure to chemical residues.

However, MAF believes it is now time to review these guidelines for risk products to ensure they reflect current scientific data available.

In the meantime, MAF will continue its policy of investigating bobby calf residue findings and will take actions based on the residue level, the source of contamination and the nature of offence committed.

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