Welcome to Newtek Pacifiers - Animal Handling Systems

By: Newtek Pacifier  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Dairy, Animal Handling Systems

Pacifier given the all clear by NAWAC - By JEREMY SMITH

Keith Hunter with the Newtek Pacifier

Patetonga’s Keith and Dawn Hunter have found a tool that they say will one day be as common place on the farm as the motorbike.
The Newtek Pacifier is a probe type implement which is inserted into the rectum of a cow.
When the power unit is turn up or down, it sends out varying levels of electrical pulses and acts as a muscle relaxant. Powered by a 12 volt battery, the electrical pulse sent by the Pacifier is similar to the one used by physiotherapists to treat muscle spasms.

Developed in South Africa in 2002, the aim was to find a way in which potentially difficult tasks could be carried out easily, while not harming or stressing the animal. Mr Hunter admits that when he was first shown the Pacifier in 2005 he was skeptical about its potential.

“Now though, it’s something I don’t think I could ever farm without.
“It helps to take the fear out of the beast and is great for de-horning and all other head work.”
Other uses include breaking in heifers, fostering calves, operating on sore feet and much more.
Since 2005, Mr Hunter has been promoting the Pacifier and its benefits, which he says pave the way to the future of farming. “I believe one day every farmer will have one. One person I’ve spoken to says he would far rather get rid of his farm bike than his pacifier.”
Other Patetonga farmers are discovering just what they can achieve with it too.
Mr Hunter notes that probably around 70 per cent of them have joined the 350 others nation-wide who have one.
“Even the most stressed out animal can be relaxed while you work. Such a variation of tasks can be carried out and it just saves so much time.”

In a recent safety trial required the national animal welfare committee, (NAWAC) the Newtek Pacifier was found to have no long-lasting effects on the health of the animal.
The trial involved monitoring levels of the stress hormone cortisol when the Pacifier was used on two different power settings.
In addition, a Pacifier without current was also tested on a third group of cattle.
The results showed there was very little difference in stress caused across the two power settings when compared with the cattle using a powerless pacifier.
In fact animals on which a live Pacifier was used responded far more favorably than to traditional methods of de-budding or castration - in which cases cortisol registered up to eight times higher.
NAWAC’s doctor Peter O’Hara was very impressed.
“This trial shows that if used correctly, the Pacifier does not cause stress to cattle.”
Mrs Hunter says she joins
her husband in indorsing the product.
“I don’t care who you are, if you are a farmer particularly at this time of year during calving, you will get stressed and the Pacifier just removes so much of that problem.
“Because the animal isn’t kicking or complaining it greatly reduces the risk of injury to both animals and humans.”
The Pacifier has a two year product fault guarantee and a free demonstration by request can be arranged with Mr Hunter. Phone him on 07 887 8820 (or) 027 283 8801.

NAWAC has modified its position from a recommendation in 2002 to prohibit the sale and use of electroimmobilisation devices, but only in relation to one such device, the “Newtek Pacifier”. The Committee believes that, on balance, the benefits for user
health and safety and animal welfare arising from the use of this device outweigh the disadvantages to animal welfare, as long as it is used in accordance with its instructions. NAWAC considered that it should, therefore, be excluded from the recommendation for prohibition. Use of the device, however, does not obviate the need for appropriate pain relief. Will this rattle my teeth - by Neil Keating25/7/2006
So convinced is farmer John Vincent about the Newtek animal pacifier that he put one in his mouth and turned it on full bore for watching animal welfare experts. “I asked [Newtek principal] Brian Heydenrich before the demonstration if he had a new, clean one. Then I tried it in my mouth, turned up to 7. Of course, I could feel it strongly but it wasn’t unbearable. I wasn’t out to fool anyone. I simply wanted to assure the NAWAC people here is something that works and is safe.” Vincent, past president of Waikato Federated Farmers, raises beef cows and grazes dairy heifers at Okoroire. He was one of the first New Zealand farmers to buy a Newtek pacifier and has used it at least 12 months. “I bought it chiefly for people safety, secondarily, for animal welfare. “We use it any time stock are being worked in the yards. It’s good for eartagging wild Angus bulls or cows. It’s so much easier than a crush or a race. “And even rearing calves onto cows, we use it on the cows and they let down their milk just the same.” “For dehorning, in a crush, we have one guy with the burner and one with the immobiliser.” Vincent says he sets the power level according to how the animal is behaving: “You read the animal, not the power scale. I set it at 2-3V and watch for the result. I may even turn it up to 4V, but then I can turn it back to 2V when the animal has settled.”

Thumbs up for saving legs, ribs - by Tony Hopkinson17/8/2006
Greater safety for workers and less stress for stock; this message comes loud and clear from farmers using the Newtek electronic pacifier during livestock treatment and handling. Dairying Today joined 30 people at a recent field day at Patetonga, Hauraki Plains, to demonstrate the device to representatives of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. Martin and Ria Rose farm pedigree Angus, selling bulls to dairy farmers. They also buy in 50 dairy replacement calves annually from high BW herds and these are calved as two-year-olds and their milk is used to rear 250 mainly Friesian and Friesian-Angus bull calves collected within about 20km of their farm at Patetonga. Many of these calves are from herds in which Roses’ pedigree bulls have been used for mating with yearlings and cows. The calves are sold at 100kg and the milking heifers are sold at an annual in-milk sale in October. They now have 80 stud Angus cows in their herd. “Our Angus bulls are selected for giving low birth weights with easy calving and the Angus Society has selected our herd sires for last two years for Ambreed to take semen for use in the dairy industry,” Martin Rose says. The yearling Angus bulls are sold at their own sale at Morrinsville and the heifer calves are reared for replacements or finished at 18 months. Three years ago they started their own Hereford stud and now have 20 stud cows with progeny reared and sold. The freshly calved dairy heifers are milked for three months through a 10-a-side herringbone shed without a pit. They are mainly milked by Ria with assistance from Martin. “None have been in a dairy shed before and without any cows to ‘show them the way’ there have been problems with some stock moving and turning,” says Ria. Last season they bought a Pacifier. “I immediately saw an answer to our situation of having to break in all our heifers, and now with this training tool our spring calving and milking is so much easier,” Martin says. They had thought of giving up their heifer milking system because of frustrations with the milking and the fact of often having one-, two- and three-teaters because of being unable to treat them adequately. These would sell as culls. Now instead if there is a problem with any heifer, no more than 10 per year, they use the pacifier. This quietens the animal and prevents the rest of the stock getting upset. It also helps some heifers let their milk down, also helping the operator. “I now go in with more confidence and know I will not get kicked, and it is easy to use,” says Ria. Martin uses the pacifier often when treating or handling his larger stud animals. “I have used it on a stud bull when treating a lame foot and for branding - an Angus breed society requirement - and for eartagging.” When helping heifers or cows to calve, using the pacifier enables the animal to relax so calves’ legs can be straightened or aligned for easier birth. Mothering-on of calves is easier, with the cow quietened and the calf able to feed well. Martin says they paid for the pacifier in the first season. “We have averaged $1250 per head for our in-milk heifers over the previous three seasons and any we’ve culled have only made $400. Being able to treat all stock meant last season we had no culls before our annual sale.” John and Carol Ralph, Te Puninga, near Morrinsville, milk 180 cows on 66ha. They run a low-cost system feeding grass and silage and growing 2.5ha of maize for autumn supplementary feed. They have used a pacifier for 18 months. “I use it when teat sealing heifers before the winter and I don’t have any trouble or worries working between the heifers’ back legs.” This season he is trialling the pacifier with his difficult heifers, helping them to settle down and release their milk. He says he would not treat any cow’s feet without the device. They walk away quietly after treatment with none of the stress normally involved in restraining. “I use it correctly as an aid, not a weapon.” Ross Young farms 250 cows at Kaihere, Hauraki Plains, with one full-time worker and milks through a 21-bail rotary shed. “We treat cow’s feet, front and back, using the pacifier on the rotary platform. And some heifers, for their first two or three milkings, we quieten to help them let their milk down.” Young says the pacifier enables his vet to take blood samples without using any other restraint. “The pacifier reduces the stress to the animal compared with the usual forms of restraining, and there is much less stress for the farmer.” Young suggests ACC, instead of levying farmers higher charges, should charge less to those using the pacifier because of lower likelihood of injury to people and stock. John and Marilyn Vincent farm 286ha of steep-to-rolling country at Okoroire, near Matamata. John is a former chairman of Federated Farmers, Waikato. They run 100 Angus breeding cows, take in dairy grazers and fatten stock, describing their farm as self-contained. John believes he was the first buyer of a Newtek pacifier. “After two years use I wish it had been available when I was dairy farming.” They use the Pacifier for many tasks -- tagging for identification, for stock bound for the works and debudding of young animals. “When debudding two of us work with the animal in the race, one operating the pacifier and the other at the front.” He uses it for treating animals for pink eye and all stock “just stand there”. When castrating his bull calves at six months, Vincent has returned to using an emasculator as opposed to the more popular rubber ring. ‘I had some concerns with rubber rings with older stock. With the Pacifier and emasculator the animal stands still and after the procedure it walks out and immediately starts grazing.” Tel. 09 486 6977

Cautious nod on pacifier, pending tests - by Neil Keating19/9/2006
A ban on the Newtek electronic animal pacifier is unlikely, says National Animal Welfare Action Committee (NAWAC) chair Peter O’Hara. But a final decision will depend on the outcome of a properly constructed scientific test. The committee met September 13 and members were pretty much unanimous in their view that, “on the basis of a visual assessment, the device seems to be substantially different from the electro-immobilisers subject to a ban recommendation now before the Minister of Agriculture,” O’Hara told Rural News. “But we’d like to see research that measures animals’ production of stress hormones before and after the use of the pacifier.” O’Hara also emphasises the pacifier does not alleviate pain for an animal, so does not override the use of painkillers by vets. The key difference between electro-immobilisers around since the 1980s and the Newtek device is the latter’s low voltage, O’Hara says. “As little as 4V at 25-30mA was enough to pacify a cow in a dairy shed. For beef cattle 4V at 60mA seems adequate.” Information passed to NAWAC in support of the Newtek pacifier includes affidavits from vets in South Africa (the Newtek’s country of origin), research data from the University of Louisiana and a German document still awaiting translation. NZ Veterinary Association chief executive Murray Gibb says members must remain conservative in their stance towards the pacifier and will do so until a “good experiment is constructed and tests are done”. “The use of any such device may disguise an animal’s normal pain response, so good science is needed to justify a pacifier’s use. Vets must be conservative where pain is involved.” Newtek principal Brian Heydenrych says the pacifier is finding ready acceptance by dairy farmers and a small but growing number of vets. “I’m discovering throughout New Zealand that, typically, the one- or two-man dairy operation finds using the pacifier is like having an extra labour unit. It’s great in the shed when they’re down to the last two rows - newcomers, heifers, the lame ones. “As soon as the worker spots a lame cow he can use the pacifier right there, lift the hoof, perhaps remove one small stone and averts a more serious case of lameness. “And when a farmer is breaking in a heifer, he uses the pacifier on her and she lets down her milk and there’s less risk of mastitis. You don’t end up using so much antibiotic with the effect that has on the milk.” Tel. 03 688 9492

The information in this article was current at 27 Mar 2012

Keywords: Animal Handling Systems, Dairy