The number of calves being slaughtered at approved facilities has almost halved in 2024. So far in 2024 there have been 16,390 calves slaughtered, compared with 29,720 calves slaughtered for the same period in 2023.

Calf slaughtering peaked at 2,597 head in the first week of March 2024, with numbers back to 880 head last week. Under new rules incorporated into the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS), healthy calves under eight weeks of age cannot be sent for slaughter except in force majeure circumstances.

If calves are slaughtered from a dairy herd in 2024, that herd will have to draw up a breeding plan to remain in SDAS.