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Legal affairs
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Biological safety and use of animals
Laboratory animals




adopted by the Standing Committee at its 26th meeting on 8 June 1993

1. In order to develop a positive relationship between man and animal, there shall be appropriate careful handling and other contact from an early age of the animal.

2. Calves should not be tethered; if kept in pens, calves shall not be tethered.

Calves may need to be suitably restrained for the time necessary to examine them, to treat them or, if they are kept in groups, to feed them and, for a short period after milk feeding, to prevent them from sucking each other.

3. If calves are to be kept in individual pens, these shall be sited and constructed so as to allow the calf sight of other calves or other animals.

4. The dimensions of the individual pen or stall shall be appropriate to the size of the animal at the end of its stay in that pen or stall. The width of the pen should be not less than, and preferably more than the height of the calf at the withers; the length should be greater than the length of the calf (measured in standing position from the extended head to the base of the tail) plus 40cm.

5. Where possible, the keeping of calves in groups should be advised, subject to respect of the following provisions:

a) they must have a lying area of sufficient unobstructed floor space to be able to lie down simultaneously without hindrance, and

b) each calf must be able to turn around, rest, stand up and groom itself without difficulty and to stay clean.

6. For calves up to two weeks of age, the lying area shall, and for older calves should, be covered by a suitable, deformable bedding material which is clean, dry and of sufficient thickness.

The accommodation for calves shall be well lit, preferably by natural light, for at least 8 hours a day.

7. Housed calves shall be inspected at least twice daily and, when the inspection suggests it to be necessary, thoroughly examined.

Sick or injured calves shall, where necessary, be placed in separate sick-pens with dry, comfortable bedding.

8. The stockkeeper should ensure that the newborn calf receives sufficient colostrum from its dam or another suitable source, as soon as possible after it is born and within the first six hours of life. Where this may involve a risk of disease, which could be the case when using colostrum from another farm, it should be subjected to an appropriate treatment, for example being heated for an hour at 56°C, but in any case it shall not be overheated as this destroys antibodies.

Calves older than 2 weeks shall have access to a palatable, digestible and nutritious diet containing a sufficient quantity of iron and roughage appropriate to their age, weight and biological needs in order to maintain good health and vigour and allow for normal behaviour and normal development of the rumen. They shall have access to water in sufficient quantity and of suitable quality at all times or at least be able to satisfy their fluid requirements by drinking other fluids.

All calves shall receive liquid food at least twice daily during the first four weeks and, in any case, until they are eating adequate quantities of suitable solid food. The supply of milk from a nipple instead of a bucket is strongly recommended.

Calves shall not be muzzled.

9. If calves are being bucket fed, each calf should have access to a separate bucket. Equipment used for feeding liquids should be thoroughly cleaned immediately after each use and, if necessary, disinfected. Troughs shall be kept clean and any stale food removed. Automatic feeding equipment shall be cleaned at regular and frequent intervals. Faeces, urine and spoilt feed shall be removed and bedding changed as often as necessary.

Where a group of cows have calves at foot and if supplementary feeding of the calves is needed, a separate facility to which only the calves have access must be provided.

10. Calves up to the age of one week or those in which the navel is not completely healed may be removed from the farm of birth only in emergencies.

If calves are to be transported or marketed, precautions shall be taken to safeguard their health and welfare.

11. Calves which are introduced to the farm should be kept separate from other calves for a period sufficient to prevent cross-infection. When calves are bought and kept for fattening purposes they should be kept in separate, stable groups.

12. Electro-immobilisation shall not be used.

13. Calves kept for farming purposes shall not be used in the course of public spectacles or demonstrations if such use is likely to be detrimental to their health and welfare.

14. Since some systems at present in use are not designed, constructed or operated in such a way as to fulfil all the biological needs of calves, efforts must be made to develop and apply husbandry systems which minimise the risk of injuries and disease and allow for all their biological needs to be met, in particular by providing for appropriate feeding regimes and by avoiding barren environments, too restricted areas, and lack of social contact.