South Wairarapa dairy farmer Hank Van Den Bosch says new MPI regulations may just be creating more work for farmers who are already doing “a good job”. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
By Beckie Wilson
Regulations are not something you can either fight or change, says a South Wairarapa dairy farmer.
For Hank Van Den Bosch, the new Ministry of Primary Industries bobby calf regulations will create extra paperwork and a few more expenses, but in his eyes may not improve his calves’ wellbeing.
Most farmers were probably doing a good job of it anyway, he said.
Videos of bobby calf mistreatment that triggered the new regulations were a way only “some farmers” treated them, he said.
“Does that mean we are all that bad?
“I don’t have a problem with the regulations, I understand why it’s gone that way – it’s just making a lot more work, but that’s okay.”
Ministry of Primary Industries is hoping to strengthen bobby calf welfare with seven new regulations, with the last coming into play this calving season.
Mr Van Den Bosch was bought up on a Wairarapa dairy farm and left when he was about 21.
Just seven years ago, he and his wife Tash left their inner-city Adelaide apartment to return to the farming life.
They now own three dairy farms across South Wairarapa.
For Mr Van Den Bosch, calving season starts around August 1.
One regulation states that calves going to slaughter or sale should have a platform to walk safely on to the truck at trailer deck height.
As well, they must have shelter from the weather while waiting collection.
Mr Van Den Bosch said he already had a shed, with a roof and sawdust for warmth for the calves, where the stock truck would reverse in to pick up them up.
Now he has had paid $3000 for a loading pen “that I don’t think will help the calves”.
With this new regulation, farmers will now be double handling – once to get the calves on the platform, and another to help get them into the truck, he said.
“At the end of the day we have to accept them and we can’t change it,” he said.
But another regulation is on-paper proof that bobby calves have been fed within 24 hours of slaughter.
This “is good to have on paper”, he said.