Care of bobby calves during transport

Care of bobby calves during transport

All people responsible for the handling and transport of bobby calves including farmers, calf buyers, agents, saleyards, transporters and meat processors must follow the Australian Animal Welfare Standards for Land Transport of Livestock.

Developed in consultation with industry, animal welfare groups, governments and the public, and incorporated in State legislation, the new standards require all those involved in the transportation of bobby calves to be responsible for the welfare of the animals under their care. Everyone who handles calves must treat them with care and patience at all times and protect them from cold and heat. Calves must not be moved with dogs or electric prodders.

    As an official decision regarding the maximum “time-off-feed” for bobby calves from farm to processing is still pending, an industry standard for the transport of calves has been developed by representatives from the dairy industry, transporters, calf buyers and meat processors.

    The standard requires that calves must be slaughtered or fed within 30 hours from the last feed.

    The industry standard complements existing national standards that limit transport time and require calves to be fed within 6 hours before leaving the farm.

    Calves must be delivered in less than 18 hours from last feed and spend no more than 12 hours on transport/in transit.

    Farmers must ensure calves offered for sale are:

    •    at least five days old (unless consigned direct to a calf rearer),
    •    fit and healthy  (see Caring for bobby calf welfare before and during transport), and
    •    have been adequately fed within six hours of transport.

    Transporters must record when calves are picked up and ensure calves are:

    • fit for the journey (see Caring for bobby calf welfare before and during transport),
    • protected from cold and heat,
    • handled appropriately during loading and unloading, and
    • transported for the minimum time possible with no more than 12 hours spent on transport.

    Saleyard operators, buyers, agents and processors must ensure calves are:

    • handled appropriately,
    • protected from cold and heat,
    • given access to water, and
    • taken care of in cases of delay or emergency.

    More information

    Caring for bobby calf welfare before and during transport (PDF, 360KB)

    Australian Dairy Farmers and Dairy Australia have produced this pocket guide to ensure that all people that work with calves are aware of their responsibilities.

    Booby calf transport standards and guidlelines (Agriculture Victoria website)

    More detailed information on the selection, preparation and transport of bobby calves.

    A national guide to the selection of animals fit to transport - Revised edition 2012

    For a more general guide to the selection of animals for transport refer this guide.