Throwing and dragging of calves has to end

The Government must give the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) more inspectors, resources and independence so it can do its job, the Green Party said today after tonight’s release of new footage of the mistreatment of bobby calves.

Farmwatch has just released footage on Checkpoint of bobby calves being dragged by their limbs and thrown into the back of trucks in Taranaki and Waikato. This follows last year’s release of shocking footage that resulted in the conviction of a meat worker for charges of cruelty or ill treatment of animals.

“The Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has got to do something that works,” Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers said.

“This culture of rough handling of young animals has clearly not changed with more rules. The Ministry needs to be out there, on the ground, inspecting and checking on the treatment of animals in New Zealand.

“This isn’t time for the Government to be defensive. It’s time to ensure that MPI is equipped to protect animals, and the reputation of those farmers who are doing a good job, by doing much more proactive monitoring.

“MPI said on Checkpoint that they only have 16 animal welfare inspectors for the whole country. That’s more than 100,000 calves per inspector which is just impossible.

“I have received figures from the Minister earlier this year that show that last year, 5,390 calves died or were euthanased between pick up and slaughter. This number has reduced somewhat from previous years but is still much too high.

“MPI released guidelines to eradicate the mistreatment of bobby calves after last year’s footage, but tonight’s story shows that little has changed.

“The Government has got to put resources into inspections, otherwise it can make as many rule changes as it likes but they are meaningless.

“MPI needs more funds, and more independence for their animal welfare work, so that we can end this sort of cruelty that is unacceptable to New Zealanders, and our international markets.”

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