The Government is delaying the introduction of new winter grazing regulations after bowing to pressure from agriculture lobbyists. The regulations were meant to come into effect from May 2021, but the Government has deferred new regulations to 2022, allowing the sector to self-regulate in the interim.
SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said she’s concerned for the welfare of animals, especially vulnerable mother cows and their calves.
“What steps will the Government take to ensure the welfare of these animals in the interim?” said Ashton. “Will we still be seeing more horrific images of cows standing and giving birth in mud, just as we did last year?”
When cows are kept in wet and muddy conditions, welfare issues that may result include poor hoof health and lameness, an inability to properly rest and ruminate, and increased risk of mastitis. Calves born in muddy conditions are also at risk, as their small bodies make them vulnerable to suffering in the cold and wet conditions.
Last year footage emerged of cows and their calves standing in a mud-filled paddock. The footage was taken in Southland between 31 July and 8 August 2020.
“Winter grazing has been linked to terrible examples of suffering for animals and our land. Cows and their calves need the Government to act for them now, not in 2022.”