26 September 1997

Calf tethering ban

TETHERING of calves will be banned from Jan 1 when EU rules laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves come into force.

Tethering will no longer be allowed, except for group housed calves for an hour during feeding, said ADAS welfare adviser Brian Pocknee.

He said that producers who housed calves outdoors in hutches would be most affected. "Its a pity – hutches are ideal for calf welfare, providing plenty of fresh air which minimises respiratory disease. Producers will have to provide penning arrangements around the hutch instead of tethering calves."

Calves housed individually must also be allowed tactile, as well as visual, contact. "They must at least touch noses," he said.

The rules also require calves more than eight weeks old to be kept in groups. Space allowances for calves housed in groups and those kept individually have also been increased.

Requirements for group housing, space allowances, and tactile and visual contact do not apply before Jan 1, 2004 for housing in use before Jan 1, 1998.