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‘Hip clamp’ dairy footage shows continual failure of MPI


1 November 2016 | MEDIA RELEASE

‘Hip clamp’ dairy footage shows continual failure of MPI

Footage filmed at a Waikato farm last year by Farmwatch and released today has shown the mistreatment of a cow, which was found suspended from a tractor by ‘hip clamps’ for some time, whilst her dead calf lay metres away. Advocacy organisations SAFE and Farmwatch say it demonstrates yet more failure by the Ministry of Primary Industries to take action on animal welfare issues.

“This footage was reported to MPI last year, but as yet they have done nothing to reprimand the farmer,” says John Darroch, spokesperson for Farmwatch. “This is another example in a continual pattern of failure of MPI to perform their duty to protect animals and their welfare.”

The footage shows that after some time the cow’s front legs collapsed, but she remained hanging by the hip clamps for 30 minutes, before the farmer arrived back and she was dragged away by the tractor.

Cows can be unable to get up for a number of reasons. These so-called ‘recumbent cattle’ are sometimes supported or lifted up by hip clamps. This is legal, however the treatment of the cow in this footage clearly fails to meet the minimum standards of the Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare:

Section 16b of the code states:

• Cows must not be transported so that all [their] weight is carried by the hip clamps and vehicle.

The metal clamps shown in the footage are also contrary to The New Zealand Veterinary Association policies that state: “Hip clamps should not be left on any longer than 10 minutes and should be loosened and then removed as soon as the cow is bearing weight. If hip clamps are to be used for lifting recumbent cattle, they should be put on over light padding” and add, “The hip clamps themselves should also be padded using plastic, rubber or foam tubing.” The clamps used on this cow are metal without any padding.

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To produce milk for humans, a dairy cow must give birth to a calf each year. In addition to losing her calf, this mother has been subjected to cruel mistreatment.

The new footage comes after an investigation released last week revealed ongoing cruel treatment of young calves.

SAFE and Farmwatch believe there should be an independent voice for animals in Parliament.

“Since MPI is the body charged with promoting primary industries, it has an obvious conflict of interest when it comes to protecting animal welfare. We urgently need an independent voice for animals to ensure that the needs of animals are prioritised,” says SAFE’s head of campaigns Mandy Carter.

END

- The hip clamp footage can be downloaded here, with a cut with text here.

- The November 2015 Farmwatch footage showed calves left for hours in crates and being thrown onto trucks and their brutal treatment at the Down Cow slaughterhouse. The exposé created a huge public response, with concern reported internationally. One of the workers involved was found guilty and sentenced on 10 charges of animal cruelty, and the slaughterhouse was closed. Down Cow’s owners are currently being prosecuted.

- Following last year’s exposé of cruelty in the NZ dairy industry, in August this year MPI released regulations on the treatment of bobby calves. Many of the regulations do not come into force until 2017 and significant issues remain:

• The throwing of calves is not explicitly banned, as it is in Europe.

• Starving calves for up to 24 hours prior to slaughter is permitted.

• Four-day-old calves can still be transported for up to 12 hours.

• No monitoring programmes are in place.

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