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Animal rights ad on New Zealand dairy is ‘emotional scaremongering’, farmers say

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Shopprice New Zealand

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The dairy industry’s treatment of bobby calves has come under scrutiny following footage captured by hidden cameras exposing cruelty. Dairy farmers are unhappy about an international campaign describing their products as “contaminated by cruelty”, which they say distorts the reality of their industry.Animal rights group SAFE published a scathing ad in UK newspaper The Guardian, describing the “shocking treatment” of calves within the New Zealand dairy industry.The Guardian has a circulation of about 200,000. An ad criticising the New Zealand dairy industry appeared in UK newspaper The Guardian.It followed the release of hidden camera footage, obtained alongside advocacy group Farmwatch, revealing apparent mistreatment of bobby calves by farmers and slaughterhouse workers in Waikato.

READ MORE:
* UK ads shame ‘cruel’ dairying
* ‘Murdering’ farmer turns over new leaf
* Farmers need to let cows be mothers

The footage showed day-old calves stranded in the sun for hours without milk, a crate labelled “casualty calves” with blood from dead calves seeping into the ground, and calves being kicked, thrown, and beaten by slaughterhouse workers.South Island dairy farmers were unimpressed with the campaign, saying it misrepresented the truth.They were moved by the footage of the abuse, but said such practices were not indicative of the industry.”We’re shocked, horrified and disgusted at the footage we saw, and that is in no way what happens on our dairy farms,” Marlborough dairy farmer Evan White said. “We’ve put in the best practice bobby calf loading facilities, only the right people feeding the calves – we wouldn’t tolerate anything we saw on that video.” 

‘GROSSLY IRRESPONSIBLE’

He called SAFE’s campaign “grossly irresponsible” and said it put pressure on an industry already grappling with an economic downturn.”It’s bewildering, really, what they’ve [SAFE] got going on in their heads and why they’re trying to do what they’re doing.”West Coast dairy farmer Renee Rooney described the campaign as “emotional scaremongering.””I was absolutely appalled at what I saw [in the video] . . . and that is not reflective at all of general dairy farming practices.” The campaign was misleading as the dairy industry had a strong record of vigilance for animal welfare, she said.”They [SAFE] are damaging our dairy industry. That is obviously what their intention is.”North Canterbury dairy farmer Cameron Henderson said he was primarily concerned about the economic effect of the negative publicity, which he called “misguided”.”There’s perhaps only one or two per cent of the industry who are the troublemakers, yet launching a campaign like this affects 100 per cent of the industry, so in a way, they’re targeting the people who are doing the right thing.”

OVERSEAS

The responses had not persuaded SAFE executive director Hans Kriek, who defended taking the campaign international.He said it was logical to present the ad to consumers of the product, most of whom were overseas.”I know a lot of people are upset that we took the ad international, but we need that pressure to ensure the government and industries sit up, take notice, then take action. I think we’ve achieved that.”He disputed claims the footage was not representative of the industry. The group filmed ten different trucks picking up calves, and all without exception had “thrown them like sacks of potatoes”.”It’s a standard line when you expose cruelty in an industry for them to say ‘it’s not representative, it’s less than one per cent who spoils it for the rest’ – but they offer no proof of that.”We needed to do it. Otherwise all we would get is lip service with no action, and we need action for those calves.”

 

 

Stuff

Ref – www.stuff.co.nz

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