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Feedback sought on draft code for dairy cattle

DATE 3 November 2006

Feedback sought on draft code of welfare for dairy cattle

Minimum standards of welfare and recommended best practices for anyone responsible for dairy cattle are outlined in a new draft code of welfare to be released by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) tomorrow.

The code is intended to encourage all those responsible for the welfare of dairy cattle to exceed the minimum standards and adopt the best industry practices of husbandry, care and handling.

The draft code includes all calves born from dairy cows until weaning, all dairy replacement stock and dairy cattle kept as “house cows”. It does not include weaned dairy cattle raised for beef production.

Proposed minimum standards cover all aspects of dairy cattle husbandry including the need for food, water, shade, shelter and housing. The management of downer cows, requirements around the use of stand-off areas and feed pads and the feeding of bobby calves prior to transport are also addressed.

A draft code was developed by a dairy industry writing group including representatives from dairy farmer, animal welfare, university and veterinary groups. Dairy cattle producers and other industry interest groups were consulted during the development process.

The draft code was submitted to NAWAC, which is seeking public feedback on the recommendations before finalising the code.

“No decisions have been made yet. We want to know whether the minimum standards and recommendations being made go too far or not far enough,” says Dr O’Connor, MAF animal welfare programmer manager. “We welcome submissions from anyone interested in dairy cattle welfare”.

The draft code will be issued for public consultation on 4 November 2006 and is available at www.biosecurity.govt.nz/animal-welfare. The closing date for submissions is 19 December 2006.

Any person may make submissions on the draft code and should do so in writing to:
NAWAC
c/-Animal Welfare Group
MAF
PO Box 2526
Wellington

Or by email to: animalwelfare@[at]maf.govt.nz

ENDS

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