Photo: Animals Australia

(GO VEGAN) Australia’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is trying to lower the amount of hours that male calves, (non-milk producing and thus unwanted), can be starved before slaughter. It’s now 30 hours. This is a ghastly by-product of the dairy industry, the slaughter of 800,000 male calves a year in Australia alone, with millions more being killed in the United States. If we must slaughter them, we owe these innocent calves a cruelty-free life without starvation. – Global Animal

Australian Associated Press

A proposal to let days-old calves headed for slaughter go unfed for up to 30 hours is cruel and unnecessary, the RSPCA says.

About 800,000 unwanted male calves are born to dairy cows in Australia each year.

Most of these so-called bobby calves are sent to the abattoir five days after birth.

They are usually collected from farms by travelling calf buyers who transport them to the slaughter house.

The government wants to introduce a new standard to ensure their welfare, with an early consultation paper allowing the calves to go unfed for 30 hours before they are slaughtered.

The paper said it had the support of scientific evidence, which says there is no detrimental effect on the calves’ health.

The RSPCA supports the proposed introduction of a new standard for bobby calves.

But it is calling for an 18-hour off-feed limit.

The animal welfare organisation says bobby calves are being treated as by-products by the industry.

“We say it should actually be 10 hours, but we understand that there needs to be a balance between the needs of the industry and the needs of animals,” RSPCA spokeswoman Lisa Chalk said.

“We’re talking about a five-day-old calf, and that’s a sixth of its life that you don’t feed it.

“We see [the new standard] as an opportunity to actually raise the bar, but, unfortunately, they usually put it really low to catch some of the stragglers in the industry.”

Given the calves’ physiological immaturity and the stress of being transported, it was even more essential that they receive humane care, Ms Chalk said.

The RSPCA believes on-farm slaughter by a trained person would be a better solution.

It is also backing an 18-hour limit on transport time for bobby calves.

According to the consultation paper, an 18-hour off-feed limit is the most expensive option, costing $177 million, while a 24-hour limit would cost $20 million.

Thirty hours was the cheapest option, estimated at $49,000.

Submissions on the new standard close on February 3.

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