Caution urged at autumn calf sales

Buying calves this autumn? Make sure they are either polled or have been de-budded otherwise they will become a problem next spring.
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

This is the message Beef + Lamb New Zealand is giving farmers as the new Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 come into effect.

Will Halliday, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Advisor for Biosecurity and Animal Welfare says from 1 October of this year, all calf de-budding or dehorning with require a local anaesthetic from – or under the supervision – of a veterinarian.

He says farmers buying dairy beef cross calves this autumn need to be aware of this change in the regulations as sometimes these calves are not de-budded.

This will mean having to pay for a vet to come and de-horn the cattle or the farmer having to undergo a training programme so they can administer the local anaesthetic themselves.

He says typically a veterinarian or veterinary technician will go onto a dairy farm and de-bud all the calves at an early age, but sometimes they will only de-bud replacement heifers, leaving beef cross animals with horns that the finisher has to deal with later.

The regulations are particularly targeting finishers who are tempted to chop the horns off a handful of cattle. This is no longer acceptable under the new regulations and could result in a fine.