Mud farming continues in the South Island
The content shows sheep caked in mud, a mother cow licking her calf lying in the mud, another calf who lies motionless in the mud, cows struggling to walk in mud up to their knees, with no dry land or shelter.
SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said it’s clear that animals are still suffering on muddy paddocks, and the Ministry for Primary Industries needs to improve its monitoring.
"This is mud farming, and every winter it’s the same story," said Ashton.
"Simply put, winter grazing practices haven’t improved on a lot of farms and MPI are not doing enough to protect animals from suffering."
New winter grazing regulations were meant to come into effect in May 2021, but earlier this year the Government deferred new regulations to 2022, allowing the sector to self-regulate in the interim.
When cows are kept in wet and muddy conditions, welfare issues that may result include poor hoof health and lameness, an inability to properly rest and ruminate, and increased risk of mastitis. Calves born in muddy conditions are also at risk, as their small bodies make them vulnerable to suffering in the cold and wet conditions
"Winter grazing is one of several areas where the Government has been slow to take action."
"Our Government talks about its aspirations to have the best animal welfare standards in the world. It’s time to walk the talk by appointing a fully resourced Commissioner for Animals with the power and will to regulate and enforce animal welfare laws."