Bobby Calf Time Off Feed Standard

The Primary Industries Ministerial Council in May 2009 endorsed the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestock and agreed that for the management of bobby calves, a science-based standard for maximum allowable time off feed (TOF) will be prepared through Animal Health Australia (AHA) within 12 months dependent on completion of a Regulation Impact Analysis (RIS). Since that time, an Australian scientific study on calf welfare during transport was completed.

The RIS recommended that on balance a mandatory standard for maximum time off feed, in addition to existing transport welfare standards for bobby calves, was the best option to further minimise risks to calf welfare. Based on cost-benefit, similar animal welfare benefits demonstrated by the relevant scientific studies and predicted national regulatory consistency, 30 hours TOF was recommended as the outer, enforceable limit.

Ministers discussed and recommended a mandatory standard for the maximum time of feed for bobby calves at the 21st Primary Industries Ministerial Council meeting in October 2011 but could not reach agreement. All industries involved in the bobby calf supply chain (that is dairy farmers, livestock agents, calf buyers and transporters and calf processors) have agreed to implement a national industry standard that sets a limit of 30 hours TOF for calves aged 5 to 30 days being transported without mothers. This industry standard matched the only other international standard (New Zealand) for a maximum time off feed.

Page Reviewed: December 2020