Animal Welfare Amendment Bill

Pebbles walks into the kitchen just as Farmer Freddy is finishing up on a call. 

“Cheers Jack”, says Freddy, “I’ll see you on Monday then.  You’ll take them away once you’ve finished won’t you...That’s great, see you Jack”.

“What was that about, Dad” asked Pebbles.

“I’ve just been arranging for one of the farmhands to get rid of my bobby calves for me.  That’s one job on the farm I really don’t like doing myself,” says Freddy.

“Do you know how Jack goes about destroying them for you, Dad?” asked Pebbles.

“No I don’t”, exclaims Freddy, “and to be honest, I don’t want to know.  It’s not something I like to think too much about.”

“Turning a blind eye to that sort of thing might be OK at the moment Dad,” scolds Pebbles. “But the law around animal welfare is going through some pretty big changes at the moment especially regarding how farmers are allowed to kill unwanted dairy calves.

“The Animal Welfare Act 1999 currently provides for codes of welfare to be put in place that set minimum standards of care that must be met by owners of animals.  Currently those codes are not directly enforceable, but a new Amendment Bill will give Parliament the ability to regulate and specify enforceable animal welfare standards.

“As you know, Dad, one of those codes of welfare is the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010. The Code sets out standards of care and recommended world best practices for the management of dairy cattle.

“The Government is currently looking at this code and in particular, whether the use of blunt force trauma is an acceptable method for the routine destruction of unwanted dairy calves on farms. 

“It’s likely that, except in the case of an emergency, the use of blunt force trauma (as opposed to the use of a firearm or captive bolt), will become an offence which can be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act”.

“But I would only ever use an approved method if I had to do it myself”, said Freddy.  “Surely I can’t get into trouble for something that Jack does?”

“Yes you can”, continues Pebbles.  “An employer will be treated as having committed the offence whether or not it was done with that person’s knowledge or approval.

“It’s obvious how much you care about your animals, Dad.  You do such a great job of looking after them and I know you would never want any of your animals suffering unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress; I don’t want you to get into trouble because of the actions of somebody you employ. 

“If I was you, Dad, I’d go and have a chat with Jack to ensure he’s not doing anything which might get you into trouble under these new rules.”

The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 


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