Help create a brighter future for dairy calves
7 July 2011
Most people aren't aware that in order to produce milk, dairy cows must have a calf each year and that the majority of these babies are taken away from their mothers within hours of their birth.
Considered of no economic value to the dairy industry, around 700,000 so-called 'bobby calves
' are sent to slaughter in their first week of life, with their mothers' milk harvested for human consumption.
To make matters worse, the Australian Government is considering a new 'animal welfare' standard that would make it legal to withhold feed from these young calves for up to 30 hours
before they are killed, despite them being fed by their mothers about 5 times a day under natural circumstances.
Update: 31st October
-- Australia's Agriculture Ministers met on Friday 28 October to decide if they would adopt the proposed standard or opt for an equally inhumane alternative that would see calves go without feed for up to 24 hours instead, but they were unable to come to an agreement and have postponed the decision to their next meeting. The Ministers' inaction is another sign that animals rely on consumers making compassionate shopping choices
to ensure that they don't get mistreated by farming industries. Animals Australia therefore will re-launch its bobby calf newspaper ad campaign
to expose the dairy industry's treatment of bobby calves.
Watch their story:
Animals Australia's campaign in January informed the Australian community about the callous treatment of bobby calves by the dairy industry and ensured that approximately 6,000 people sent in submissions in the public consultation to express their disapproval of this proposed new standard.
The dairy industry knows that many consumers would be distressed to learn about the systematic killing of week-old dairy calves. Much like the secrecy surrounding this practice, the public consultation into the length of time these calves could legally be denied food was not advertised to the public by either industry or Government.
Despite the public outcry, Animal Health Australia (AHA), who has a coordinating role in the development of national animal welfare standards, has recommended that it should be legalised to withhold feed from 5 day old bobby calves for the last 30 hours of their lives.
Fortunately AHA is not making the final decision. The recommendation by AHA will need to be approved by the Primary Industries Standing Committee (PISC) and finally the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) before this proposal will become the national standard. It is then up to the State Governments to implement the standard in State legislation.
You can help bobby calves by writing to the members of the PIMC (which includes all State and Territory Ministers responsible for Agriculture) to tell them that it is unacceptable to withhold feed from 5 day old calves for up to 30 hours and to urge them to provide better protection for bobby calves.
Contact addresses for the PIMC members:
- The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson, NSW Minister for Primary Industries:
- The Hon Peter Walsh, VIC Minister for Agriculture:
- The Hon Tim Mulherin, QLD Minister for Primary Industries:
- Bryan Green, TAS Minister for Primary Industries:
- The Hon Paul Caica, SA Minister for Environment and Conservation:
- The Hon Terry Redman, WA Minister for Agriculture:
- The Hon Norman Moore, WA Minister for Fisheries:
- Mr Simon Corbell, ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services:
- The Hon Kon Vatskalis, NT Minister for Primary Industry:
- The Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture:
Animals Australia will continue to campaign for a better future for these vulnerable animals. With your support
we will keep informing the community that every individual's shopping choices
can make a world of difference for dairy calves.