Will Halliday, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’ Senior Advisor for Biosecurity and Animal Welfare, says local anesthetic can only be used by a vet or under the authorization of a vet, so farmers needing to dehorn or disbud will need to talk to their vet about their options.
Will says ideally, farmers buying store stock should ensure the cattle have already been dehorned or disbudded and commercial breeders should consider selecting polled cattle to avoid the issue of dehorning altogether.
Following on from these regulations, it is likely that from next year, sheep farmers will be required to dock lambs’ tails to a length that covers the vulva in a ewe lamb and the equivalent length in a male.
Will says while these are just proposed changes, they are likely to come into effect next year and he recommends farmers consider these length requirements over docking this season to give themselves a transition period to get used to these tail lengths.
From 1 October, all cattle, regardless of age, will require local anaesthetic for disbudding or dehorning. Local anaesthetic is only available under veterinary authorisation, meaning that from now on you will need to get your vet to help with dehorning, or you can get them to show you how to use local anaesthetic safely and effectively. If you have cattle that require dehorning the best thing to do is talk to your vet about your options.