WORKING DOG: Tessie and her owner, cattle producer Noel Thompson of Coraki do some quiet yard work.
WORKING DOG: Tessie and her owner, cattle producer Noel Thompson of Coraki do some quiet yard work. Samantha Elley

RSPCA suggestions on working dogs leaves farmers baffled

NOEL Thompson of Coraki is left scratching his head at the latest suggested animal welfare guidelines put out by the RSPCA in respect to beef cattle.

Mr Thompson, 66, has been farming all his life and runs 800 cattle at Coraki and North Woodburn, ably supported by his kelpie Tessie.

The suggested guidelines from the RSPCA have included the muzzling of working dogs and banning them from working in yards.

I'd like to know who at the RSPCA makes these guidelines up and if they've ever been out on a farm.

"In the yard (Tessie) is just as good as two to three people," Mr Thompson said.

"She's gentle with the cattle and the only time she will bite is if a cow gives attitude and even then it's just a quick nip."

Mr Thompson put Tessie through her paces, showing how placidly the cattle let themselves be directed by the kelpie.

"I'd like to know who at the RSPCA makes these guidelines up and if they've ever been out on a farm," he said.

"(Cattle) don't stress when Tessie guides and blocks them and I reckon she settles them."

Mr Thompson admits to some dogs requiring muzzling and that happens at dog trials and on farms where required.

"They are isolated cases. We shouldn't all be lumped in together," he said.

Another guideline by the RSPCA which has cattle operators dumbfounded is that 'cattle and calves are not consigned through saleyards'.

George & Fuhrmann managing director and cattle auctioneer Darren Perkins said animal welfare was a very important part of their business.

"The livestock that we handle and sell through saleyards are treated well as animal welfare (is) top of our list," he said.

Mr Perkins said to lose the saleyards would be one of the biggest hits to the industry.

"It's all right to say the abattoirs can handle it but not all cattle (is) suited to go to that market, with many people breeding for the very good store markets that are specialised for the saleyard system," he said.

"Do you want farmers or do you just want to bring in all the diseases the rest of world has to provide?"



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