Calves born into the dairy Industry

The Animal Justice Party Aotearoa NZ (AJP) will work towards phasing out dairy farming in New Zealand. One of our first priorities will be to carry out a full and independent review of the industry processes viewed through the lens of the newborn calf. This report would be shared with the public and stakeholders.

Cows need to give birth each year to remain productive on a dairy farm.  As dairy cows are normally milked for between 4 and 8 years replacement female cows are not required every year.  Male calves born into the dairy industry do not have the same genetics as those born to be raised and slaughtered for human consumption.  As they will not be as productive as other breeds bred for human consumption they are most often slaughtered as bobby calves.

Bobby calves are, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries, “those intended for processing within approximately the first week of life for human consumption or pet food”.  Each year approximately two million individual New Zealand dairy industry born calves have been classified as bobby calves.  

Taking calves from their cow mothers is distressing for both mother and baby.  All of the options regarding slaughter, transport of or providing care for dairy calves are far less than ideal.  Social studies reveal that generally the public are unaware or opposed to these practices faced by cows and calves in the dairy industry.

Key Principles

AJP will make sure a full and independent review is undertaken of the treatment of calves viewed through the lens of the calf and that review be publically shared.