Abuse should be reported immediately

Farmwatch has released footage from hidden cameras which shows abuse of bobby calves:

It has been almost a year since the group went public with its last major exposé, which showed similar treatment as well as calves being killed through blunt force, and kicked and beaten, resulting in a public outcry and new industry guidelines.

Back then, many in the industry blamed the mistreatment on a few bad apples.

However, Farmwatch says its latest investigation shows this is untrue – and that the abuse of calves is a common practice in one of New Zealand’s biggest industries. . . 

Animal abuse is not common practice. Farmwatch’s statement is a slur on the thousands of farmers and farm workers who treat stock humanely.

Farmwatch has completed another investigation, this time involving about 10 farms in Taranaki and Waikato from August this year. The latest video, released to Checkpoint with John Campbell, showed calves being thrown forcefully onto trucks and dropped onto the ground.

“What you can see here is the workers just throwing them, hurling them, into the back of the truck,” Farmwatch spokesman John Darroch said. “He just chucks it by the neck backwards.”. . 

The dairy industry had, in the past, pinned the abuse on a few bad workers, he said.

“This is representative of the handling of calves, and when we place hidden cameras we get this kind of footage … If it were only a few people doing this, it would be impossible for us to get this footage.” . . 

That’s a nonsensical statement. It takes only one person to do this to obtain footage. Ten is 10 too many but it is not representative of the industry.

Apart from the obvious and overriding importance of animal welfare, bruising of calves reduces the value of their meat.

Almost everyone in dairying will be as angry and upset by this maltreatment as the animal rights people.

Furthermore, almost everyone else, with animal welfare at heart rather than a political agenda,  would have reported the abuse to MPI or the SPCA immediately to ensure the abuse stopped immediately and not waited two months as Farmwatch did.

2 Responses to Abuse should be reported immediately

  1. Gravedodger says:

    Reporting immediately might just compromise the events on camera if they were being fabricated.
    The Cynic in me suggests that such propaganda would be so easy to fabricate using dead calves, yes just as with all vulnerable young, some do not make it and there might be some footage that could be claimed to be insensitive in dealing with the cold deceased calves. Easily transformed into footage of apparent abuse.

    The moronic actions of a body such as “farmsafe” with scant regard for the truth is quite easily accepted. For me in days gone by clearing up dead lambs after a catastrophic weather event for processing at a “slink facility” could so easily be portrayed as insensitive when there were as many live lambs being ignored while clearing the dead before they became decomposing valueless carcases.


  2. Mr E says:

    Farmwatch should be condemned for their remarks. They have no evidence of wide spread abuse.

    One the other hand Farmwatch are delivering a service that people are appreciating. Reporting of potential abuse.

    I can see there is some learning to be had from this event.

    In my experience most dairy farmers treat their calves like pets. They are very kind and compassionate and treat them well.
    That creates a calf that is friendly, and not afraid of humans.

    That becomes a challenge when it comes to moving calves. How does one get a calf from a pen to a truck when it will only stand and stare at a person?

    The calf has to be picked up and carried. It will not run up ramps so it has to be lifted from deck to deck, to load a truck or trailer.

    Truckies are usually not as conneced to calves as farm owners. They are not their pets, and lets face it shifting the calves is hard work. Picking up and loading 25kg at a time is back breaking work. Drivers get absolutely covered in excrement, one of the most unpleasant excrement’s one could be covered in. It can be, undoubtedly, frustrating work.

    We therefore have a risk zone around the handling of calves.

    I think the the best thing that can be do – all farms have cameras at their loading areas.

    Hunting cameras are motion activated, and cost $200-400.
    Signage of cameras – another $50?

    I hate adding cost to already hard up farmers. But I think this is one cost many farmers would be comfortable taking to cover any risk posed.

    Cameras should also be present at the other end. Unloading.

    We can learn from Farmwatch and we can remove any teeth from any argument they may have.

    As a side issue, I would pay money to Farm watch to spend a day working for a transport shifting calves. It would go a long way toward creating understanding.


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