Young Animals from the Dairy Industry
SPCA opposes the routine killing of young animals in the dairy industry.
SPCA supports schemes that demonstrate the economic viability and sustainability of raising animals who would usually be slaughtered as excess stock. Our organisation supports the use of dual-purpose or balanced breeds and the appropriate care of male animals so that they are humanely reared to attain a market value in the supply chain.
If dairy animals are farmed, SPCA supports the use of sexed semen to reduce the wastage of dairy (male and female) animals being born. Our organisation advocates that the use of dual-purpose breeds and/or sexed semen can significantly reduce the number of unwanted animals being born.
If animals are born who are not going to be reared for meat and are going to be killed as excess stock, then SPCA supports humane killing on-farm in a timely manner by personnel that are trained and competent in appropriate, humane killing techniques. This prevents the subjection of young animals to the stress and potential harm of loading, transportation, unloading, lairage, and killing at a slaughterhouse.
SPCA advocates that all calves, kids, lambs and fawns are reared with their mothers on pasture and in stable, long-term social groups.
A socially restricted early environment is not an ideal form of animal husbandry and early separation of young mammals from their dams has long-term effects on behaviour, stress reactivity and the ability to cope with different challenges in various animal species, including dairy calves.
SPCA advocates for all young mammals to be provided an appropriate diet for their age and stage of development.
SPCA advocates that all calves, kids, lambs and fawns must receive a diet which allows normal physiological development and good health. This includes access to water. If separated from their mothers, young mammals must be offered colostrum and sufficient quantities of milk in multiple meals to prevent hunger and abnormal behaviours. Our organisation opposes the practice of feeding low fibre and low iron diets to animals to keep their flesh pale.
SPCA advocates that extra care should be taken when deciding whether to transport young animals. SPCA opposes the long-duration transport or export of young animals.
Calves should not be transported before 10 days of age and SPCA advocates that the current law that allows for calves as young as 4 days old to be transported is changed.
Anyone responsible for young animals and their transport must ensure that they are fit for travel so that they are able to withstand the journey. Young animals must be fed prior to transport and are provided with bedding during transport to maintain comfort. Young animals must go no longer than 8 hours without feed, no matter their destination.
(See ‘Transport of Farmed Animals’ for more information)