New dehorning rules put animal welfare and human safety first

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CRV Ambreed says the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) new rules for cattle dehorning recognise the importance of putting animal welfare and human safety first.

The new rules announced this week, are effective from 1 October 2019 and require people working with cattle to use local anaesthetic when dehorning and disbudding.


“Dairy farmers love their cows and it makes sense for them to look after one of their greatest assets,” says CRV national sales and marketing manager Jon Lee.


“The majority of dairy farmers have sound animal welfare processes in place and many already use anaesthetic when dehorning and disbudding calves.

“Genetics also has a part to play, with animal welfare now a real consideration for dairy farmers when making breeding decisions.”


CRV’s polled bull sires were released to the market in 2017, which enables farmers to breed hornless cows without compromising on other key traits, such as udder health, temperament and productivity.

“An increasing number of farmers are asking us about options for breeding hornless animals,” says Lee. “We have been developing our hornless or ‘polled’ product line for more than 10 years to make life easier for farmers and their animals.

“Keeping staff safe is also a top priority, with the added bonus of eliminating the time and financial cost of disbudding calves.”


The current cost of dehorning calves is significant. A farm with 200 replacements at $6-7 per animal equates to about $1,200 to $1,400 for dehorning.


This year, CRV has brought seven sires to market with the polled gene. These bulls are high indexing and will breed healthy, easier to manage, productive, sustainable, long-lasting cows.


“In Europe they are increasingly asking ‘should we be dehorning animals?’ and they’re using genetics to safely manage this,” says Lee.

“There’s some talk that by 2025 it may be illegal to dehorn animals in Europe. If that happens, New Zealand could follow suit and we need to be prepared.”


For more information on CRV’s polled sires visit

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