DairyNZ’s veterinary technical policy advisor, Dr Nita Harding, says the requirements for transporting cattle are the same whether the animals are going to slaughter or some other destination - all animals must be fit for the journey.
“It is not acceptable to load and transport very thin animals and most farmers understand that and take great care of their animals. The industry, and that includes farmers, see the importance of everyone adhering to the same standards of care and they place a high priority on ensuring that happens. The law and our industry take animal welfare very seriously and there are strict rules relating to animal transport.”
Dr Harding says for farmers sending animals off-farm, it is not just a matter of booking the truck and loading the animals. The animals for transport must be selected and checked to ensure they are fit for the journey.
“If any farmers are unsure of their responsibilities, there is information on the DairyNZ website dairynz.co.nz/transportingstock that includes a checklist to help determine stock condition and whether stock are fit for transport.”
She says DairyNZ has done a lot of work on communicating requirements for the selection and preparation of animals for transport so there is no excuse for farmers not knowing what to do.
“We have also assisted with some recent Ministry for Primary Industries workshops on transporting livestock held for stock transporters, stock agents and meat industry personnel. We are all working together to ensure the best standards of cow care at all times,” says Dr Harding.
Dr Harding says in preparation for transport, animals should be held off green feed for four to 12 hours, with water and hay provided, and a final check made at the time of loading.
“Animals that are not fit to travel must receive appropriate care on-farm, including veterinary care if necessary, and in some cases this may mean humane slaughter on-farm.”
DairyNZ communications manager
027 703 0211