Know your responsibilities when transporting bobby calves

6 August 2021

Bobby calves that are being transported for sale or slaughter must be at least 5 days old, have been adequately fed milk or milk replacer within 6 hours of transport and must be in a fit and healthy condition.

Bobby calves must also be adequately protected from the cold during transport. They should be transported in a trailer or crate that has at least an enclosed front for protection and ideally have appropriate bedding or material on the floor of the trailer to reduce the risks of slipping.

All calves must be able to lie down on their chest during transportation.

Everyone along the supply chain including producers, transporters, scale operators, livestock agents and saleyard and abattoir staff are responsible for the welfare of bobby calves.

Agriculture Victoria’s Program Manager for Livestock Welfare Compliance Dr Rachael Holmes said it’s important that everyone responsible for bobby calves ensures that calves under their care are adequately supervised and that prompt action is taken to address any animal welfare issues that arise.

“During cold weather, extra measures should be taken to ensure that calves are protected from rain, wind and temperature extremes both on-farm and during transportation.

“It is also essential that calves are handled with care, they must not be lifted by their head, ears, tail, hair or by a single leg.

“Calves may also become easily fatigued, so it is important that anyone handling calves is patient.

“Anyone handling calves should also note that it is prohibited in Victoria to use an electric prodder on calves, regardless of whether or not the electric prodder is active.

“Anyone who uses or places an electric prodder on a bobby calf can face an infringement penalty of $545 or prosecution. The use of any dog, including muzzled dogs, to move bobby calves is also prohibited.”

For further information regarding bobby calf welfare please visit the Agriculture Victoria website, phone 136 186 or consult with Animal Health and Welfare staff at your local Agriculture Victoria office.

Media contact: Tess Vallance, 0437 223 276