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26 January 2011

Public consultations on a proposed amendment to government standards that regulate how long bobby calves can be off feed prior to slaughter, have now closed.

It is proposed that the standards be amended with the clause that bobby calves "must be slaughtered or fed within 30 hours of last feed".

The RSPCA's view is that 30 hours is far too long and completely unnecessary.

Dairy Australia's own research found that the welfare of bobby calves begins to deteriorate from 24 hours off feed and that is if conditions are ideal. 

The RSPCA believes:

  • bobby calves should be fed every 12 hours
  • calves should be fed within four hours of leaving the property of origin and this feed should be equivalent to half the calve's daily ration
  • the time of feed should be recorded and accompany the calves to their destination to ensure timely provision of feed to calves not slaughtered within 12 hours of their last feed
  • the time interval from farm to abattoir should not exceed 10 hours
  • bobby calves must, where possible, be transported directly to the abattoir.

It is expected recommendations will be made to the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) in April.

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