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Bobby Calf abuse soon to get worse in Australia - newborn calves denied feed for up to 30hrs

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In Australia around 700 000 bobby calves are sent to slaughter each year, because they are simply unwanted.  They are seen as nothing more than a by product of the dairy industry.

'Bobby Calves' are often the casualties of the Dairy Industry. Within 12 hrs of being born they are taken from their mums, then at age 4+ days old these newborns are trucked to slaughter.

Products from processed newborn calves include young veal for human consumption, valuable hides for leather and byproducts for the pharmaceutical industry.

When transported from farms to saleyards, and  then to their final destination being abattoirs, bobby calves are often treated terribly. Many of these newborn calves struggle to walk by themselves which can frustrate handlers. Calves are often dragged and thrown about during the farm to slaughter process.



"Just when we thought the treatment of bobby calves couldn't get any worse, it's about to"

The Australian Dairy Industry has already stated that newborn calves deteriorate after being denied feed for up to 24hrs, but despite this it is now proposing that bobby calves be denied feed for up to 30hrs.

The below proposal (pls see link for full report) is a summary of research commissioned by Dairy Australia and the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Fisher et. al. 2010, in preparation) to support the development of a science-based maximum time-off-feed (TOF) standard for bobby calves.

The Australian study was conducted in 2009/10 by Dr Andrew Fisher and colleagues from the University of Melbourne and the Animal Welfare Science Centre. It has provided data for Australian conditions.

The objectives of this experiment were:

1) to determine the welfare and metabolic state of 5- to 10-day-old dairy calves in response to increasing time off feed- up to 30 hours, in conjunction with three transport scenarios; and

2) to use these results to provide objective scientific evidence, along with the published New Zealand information, to support the Australian development of an appropriate standard for maximum permissible time–off-feed for the bobby calf supply chain.


A public consultation period is now underway into how long bobby calves can be off feed prior to slaughter.  Members of the public have until the 3rd of February 2011 to have their say on new standards, and we must all take this opportunity.

The link below provides details on where to send your submission:

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