Dairy industry animal welfare complaints are increasing though the number of recommended prosecutions isn’t.
Ministry for Primary Industries’ data on the number and nature of complaints in the commercial dairy industry over the last five years showed that of the 1304 complaints made from the beginning of 2017 to April this year, 420 resulted in investigators uncovering an animal welfare offence.
In 2017 there were 264 complaints, 258 in 2018, 332 in 2019 and last year there were 373.
DairyNZ senior manager Helen Thoday said the majority of its farmers followed excellent animal welfare practices because they cared for and valued their cows.
“We are concerned about any breach of animal welfare standards.”
She said the rising number of complaints might be due to raised awareness.
“As public expectations around animal care rise and the laws that protect animals strengthen, we expect the number of complaints might increase.”
Just over a third of complaints over the four years from 2017-2020 were animal health related and a quarter were to do with transportation of the cattle.
Twelve per cent involved injuries.