Handle with care: bobby calf transport requirements

Picture: supplied

Agriculture Victoria is keen to remind producers of their responsibilities when transporting bobby calves.

Agriculture Victoria conducts regular audits of bobby calves at saleyards, calf scales and abattoirs.

Agriculture Victoria Livestock Welfare Compliance Program Manager Veronica Campbell said Agriculture Victoria Authorised Officers still find unfit calves being supplied for transport and sale and calf trailers that are over-crowded or don’t meet the prescribed requirements.

The requirements for transporting bobby calves are detailed within the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestock. These standards are mandatory in Victoria under the Livestock Management Act 2010.

Ms Campbell said everyone along the supply chain is responsible for bobby calves, including sellers, buyers, transporters, scale operators, livestock agents and saleyard and abattoir staff.

“Bobby calves that are fit for their intended journey must be healthy and alert. They should weigh at least 23 kilograms, be strong, able to bear weight on all four limbs and able to rise from a lying position. Their hooves should be firm, and their navels dry, wrinkled, withered and shrivelled.

“If a calf isn’t fit to load, appropriate arrangements must be made for its care or treatment. If in doubt, leave it out.

“Bobby calves must be assembled and transported to ensure delivery in less than 18 hours from last feed with no more than 12 hours spent on transport, unless moving between rearing facilities where the journey must be less than six hours.”

Calves must be fed, within six hours of loading. Anyone in charge of bobby calves must have a record system that identifies when the calves were last fed prior to transport.

Ms Campbell said calves must be adequately protected from the weather during transport and be kept clean and dry. In practice this means the trailer or crate should have an enclosed front for protection and appropriate bedding or material on the floor of the trailer to reduce the risks of slipping.

“All bobby calves must have sufficient space in the livestock crate to be able to lie down on their sternums during transportation.

“It should also be remembered, it is an offence in Victoria to use an electric prodder on calves, regardless of whether or not the electric prodder is working. Anyone who uses or places an electric prodder on a bobby calf can be prosecuted.”

For further information regarding bobby calf welfare visit the Agriculture Victoria website, call 136 186 or consult with animal health and welfare staff at your local Agriculture Victoria office. Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint regarding livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria at aw.complaint@agriculture.vic.gov.au or phone 136 186