Stock cull season welfare reminder: if in doubt, leave it out.
As culling season gets under way the Ministry for Primary Industries is reminding stock owners that each animal is their responsibility until they're accepted by the processing premises or saleyard.
Don't assume your stock are going to the nearest works — it's not always the case. The longer the trip, the harder it is on the animal, so keep that in mind.
MPI's director of animal health and welfare, veterinarian Dr Chris Rodwell, says he has a simple message, "Don't take the risk with unfit stock — it's not good for the animal, and if they don't arrive in acceptable condition you could end up with no return and a fine of $500."
Dr Rodwell summarises MPI's advice in six key points:
"Plan ahead and talk to your stock agent and transporter: tell them if any stock are too tall for a standard truck; ask them how long the trip will be; and ask for plenty of notice so you can ensure stock are in good shape for travel.
"Don't assume your stock are going to the nearest works — it's not always the case. The longer the trip, the harder it is on the animal, so keep that in mind.
"Prepare stock before the trip — stand them off green feed for 4-12 hours, provide hay or baleage and always have water available.
"Dry off your dairy cows to avoid metabolic issues — if that's not possible, dose them with calcium and magnesium, stand them off green feed a few hours before loading, and milk them as close to pick up as you can.
"Call your vet if you're unsure about any animal — if in doubt, leave it out.
"Finally, use the Fit For Transport app — it's designed to make it easier for stock owners, agents and transporters to select animals before transport."
The app will help ensure the welfare of your animals during transport and avoid the risk of fines for sending animals that are lame; have ingrown or injured horns; have injured or diseased udders; or have eye cancer. It's free to download from iTunes or Google Play and will work on your smartphone or tablet even while offline.