Born to die

We’re finally able to reveal the horrific reality that 2 million dairy (bobby) calves endure in New Zealand’s dairy industry. In our biggest investigation to date, we documented the short, 4-day life of bobby calves in dairy regions across New Zealand.

Footage recorded by hidden cameras revealed systemic cruelty and deliberate violent abuse of helpless calves.
The investigation shows:

  • calves being born during mid winter frosts with no shelter
  • distressed cows having their babies taken away from them shortly after birth
  • calves that had been killed by farm workers and thrown onto dead-piles at farm gates
  • calves left in crates on the side of the road with no shelter, food or water. This often occured in extreme weather conditions and at times for over 8 hours, despite law requiring them to be fed two hours before transportation.
  • truck drivers roughly throwing calves into the back of trucks
  • a slaughterhouse worker violently kicking, hitting and throwing helpless calves before bludgeoning them and slitting their throats.

​Farmwatch supplied TVNZ’s Sunday show with all footage from the investigation. Unfortunately only a fraction of the abuse was shown, so watch our video at the top of this page.

Footage was also submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries, which is the government organisation responsible for animal welfare. The Sunday show discovered during their interviews that MPI had not followed up on the footage, despite having received it in September 2015. In an interview on the Sunday show, MPI spokesperson Matt Stone responded, saying “I’m not going to comment on the processes of the investigation.”

When asked about potential consumer response to the deaths of 2 million bobby calves, Fonterra Group Director of Co-operative Affairs, Miles Hurrell, said the nutritional benefits “far outweigh[s] the practices of getting that milk.”

Multiple organisations within the dairy industry repeatedly claim that New Zealand maintains high welfare standards, and that animal welfare is part of our national brand. Farmwatch has disproved that claim by showing widespread evidence of systemic welfare issues within the NZ dairy industry. Consumers have the right to know about how milk is produced, and what this means for the animals.

Farmwatch strongly believes that both local and international consumers will be horrified by what they see in this footage and are urging everyone to pledge to ditch dairy.