DEBUDDING or dehorning cattle will require a local anaesthetic under the new laws.

TOUGHER animal welfare enforcement laws and higher fuel price increases that took effect this week reflect practices farmers have been using for years.

Eastern Bay dairy farmer Greg Malcolm said the enforcement of the rules was more of a rubber stamp of procedures that are already standard practice.

“It’s normalising all the procedures that have been talked about for years,” he said.

“Fonterra has made these things a condition for years.”

An 8 percent rise in fuel excise tax and higher road user charges is expected to result in higher costs for goods and services involving transport while new regulations introduce tougher enforcement of low-to-medium violations of animal welfare laws.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said the regulations were based on current code of welfare standards and the major change is in how they are enforced and the penalties for non-compliance.

They include a $300 fine for poorly fitted collars and tethers, tighter restrictions on the use of electric prodders, a ban on docking dogs’ and cattle tails and the mandatory use of pain relief for other procedures.

No docking is a condition of being a Fonterra supplier.

“Farmers haven’t docked tails for a long time,” Mr Malcolm said. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use pain relief.”

The measures also clarify requirements such as those for transporting stock.

As at yesterday, electric prodders can be used only on the muscled hind or forequarters of cattle or pigs over 150 kilograms, and only when loading or unloading for transport, or loading into stunning pens.

They can be used on deer when loading them into stunning pens.

Striking or prodding animals in sensitive areas is also banned and non-compliance can result in a fine of up to $500.

From October 1, 2019, debudding or dehorning cattle will require a local anaesthetic. The delay allows time for farmers, veterinarians and contractors to prepare.

Farmers doing the procedure must be trained in anaesthetic use.