News Blog Articles Dead calves cover the length of New Zealand

Dead calves cover the length of New Zealand

November 1st, 2016

‘DROP DAIRY’ – these words are now plastered on an eye-catching billboard that has gone up in a high visibility location on Auckland’s Hobson Street today.  Approximately two million ‘bobby’ calves are killed at a few days old in New Zealand, and if their bodies were placed end to end, it would create a ‘trail of death’ stretching from Bluff to Cape Reinga.

The ‘Drop Dairy’ billboard forms part of SAFE’s campaign to raise awareness of the unwanted bobby calves killed every year by the dairy industry. The production of milk causes widespread animal suffering, from the separation of cows from their young babies, to the harsh treatment of these calves on their way to the slaughterhouse.


New footage released by SAFE and Farmwatch was made public last week, showing calves being thrown onto trucks, a calf being dragged by his limbs, and mothers desperately trying to stop their babies being taken away. This follows on from the explosive 2015 footage revealing calves suffering on farms, trucks and in a slaughterhouse.


In response to last week’s exposé, farming interests appeared to seek to trivialise the matter, ranging from publicly defending the treatment of calves to dismissing concerns.


The callous, indifferent attitude voiced by dairy industry representatives about the treatment of calves reinforces the fact that they are out of touch with public thinking, says SAFE head of campaigns Mandy Carter.


“It is shocking to many New Zealanders that two million bobby calves become the collateral damage of the dairy industry each year,” says Ms Carter. “People have been horrified to find out not only that these calves are killed at just days old, but that many are mistreated as well. The way the dairy industry continues to dismiss public concern is very alarming.”


Born to keep their mothers producing milk, unwanted bobby calves are slaughtered as waste products.

SAFE urges people who agree that the cruel treatment of cows and their calves is unacceptable to join the thousands of caring individuals who are already using alternatives to milk and other dairy products by taking the dairy-free pledge.


Try plant-based!

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge

Moving away from dairy is a choice that benefits animals, our planet and our health. There’s never been a better time to go dairy-free. Whether you’re looking for tips on the best plant-based cheese or ice cream or on the lookout for new dairy-free recipe ideas, we’ve got you covered!

Donate today

Help us continue helping animals in need

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.