Farm­ers urged to of­fer stock shel­ter from sun

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

The heat has been no fun for the woolly jumper and leather jacket brigade. Sheep and cat­tle have been suf­fer­ing in the heat and lo­cal an­i­mal wel­fare ad­vo­cates are in­volved in an on­go­ing cam­paign to con­vince farm­ers to pro­vide shade for their stock.

Con­cerns for the wel­fare of farm an­i­mals ex­posed in shade­less pad­docks to the re­lent­less heat have seen Rhonda Find­lay and Jenny Doyle writ­ing let­ters to Fed­er­ated Farm­ers of­fices and dis­tribut­ing no­tices to farm­ers ask­ing that more shade and shel­ter be pro­vided for farm an­i­mals.

The no­tice reads: ‘‘Th­ese an­i­mals have lit­tle shade/shel­ter. Please con­sider putting up im­me­di­ate short term shade/ shel­ter such as scrap iron, wood, shade­cloth etc. on fence cor­ners, and con­sider plant­ing somes trees/flax’’.

Rhonda says they’ve seen an­i­mals stand­ing in open pad­docks pant­ing, hav­ing nowhere to find re­lief from the sun, and with tem­per­a­tures into the high 20s and low 30s.

‘‘They clus­ter around what- ever casts a shadow – even the shad­ows of fence bat­tens.’’

She begs farm­ers to have some con­sid­er­a­tion for the an­i­mals. ‘‘So­lu­tions don’t have to be ex­pen­sive and can be put up fairly quickly. Hang some old car­pet or card­board on the fences.’’

The card­board so­lu­tion she says can last for two years be­fore need­ing to be re­placed.

Mod­ern farm­ing prac­tices seem to en­cour­age wide open shel­ter-free spa­ces for max­i­mum pas­ture growth, but an­i­mals suf­fer­ing heat stress don’t graze. ‘‘ They come out from what­ever shade they can find about four or four-thirty in the af­ter­noon when the heat has passed.’’

Re­search shows cows with ac­cess to shade pro­duce 3 per cent more milk.

The pair are equally con­cerned about sheep penned for hours in the sun with­out shel­ter at the Feild­ing sa­le­yards.

Rhonda says an­i­mal wel­fare laws lack teeth, and seem to be made up of sug­gested best prac­tice rather than a bind­ing code of con­duct.


Sheep clus­ter into the only shady cor­ner of their pad­dock to find some re­lief from the heat.

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