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United stand taken on dairy cattle cruelty

United stand taken on dairy cattle cruelty

Following yesterday’s conviction of a dairy herd manager in Ashburton, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and the New Zealand Veterinary Association, share the same stance on animal cruelty. Breaking tails is absolutely unacceptable and has no place in the New Zealand dairy industry.

“I have no idea why someone working on a dairy farm would believe that breaking tails makes cows easier to work with,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“We’ve seen several instances of this unacceptable practice as of late and it defies logic and stockmanship.

“First, it causes the animal pain and distress meaning they are not going to be a peak performer. Secondly, cows are not clueless. They will become leery of farm staff making them much harder to handle and to work with.

“Losing your temper and injuring animals during some ‘red mist’ only costs the farm lost production and the need for veterinary help later. For the perpetrator, it will likely cost them their career in the dairy industry.

“If you are hot-headed and prone to lashing out, can I suggest the dairy industry is not the career for you.

“All staff need education on how to handle animals because animal abuse is unacceptable. Federated Farmers has recently sent our members an important advisory about employer rights in animal welfare cases. If you have missed this log into fedfarm.org.nz or call 0800 327 646.

“Given there are stiff penalties we hope the court will send a deterring message when sentencing comes in October,” Mr Leferink finished by saying.

DairyNZ’s team leader for animal husbandry and welfare, Nita Harding, says the key to managing cows is to work with them, not against them.

“Many procedures on farm are routine and cows, being creatures of habit, will easily comply if they are treated well. It’s all about understanding how a cow interprets the world around her and then managing her appropriately,” says Nita.

“We encourage farmers to access resources and attend the events DairyNZ runs to help them with stockmanship. They can get tips about handling cows and making the routine procedures on farm less stressful for animals and staff.

“This ultimately leads to more content cows, happier staff and higher milk production,” Nita concluded.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) Dairy Cattle Society President, Dr. Neil MacPherson, believes banning this person from working with animals would send a strong message to those who treat animals cruelly.

For challenging situations, DairyNZ has an Early Response Service, which involves Federated Farmers and it offers confidential support where animal welfare may be at risk. This service has been successful in helping farmers manage their animals and farm to get back on track. Farmers looking for any support can contact DairyNZ on 0800 4 324 7969.

ends

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