The Government is proposing to ban the use of blunt force to kill bobby calves on farms.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has asked animal welfare officials to begin consultation on changing the rules to prohibit the use of blunt force trauma.
Mr Guy, who admits bludgeoning calves to death himself on his own farm in the past, says that as a humane society New Zealand has a responsibility to look after animals and avoid unnecessary suffering.
He says while he doesn't believe the practice is widespread, it could be a threat to the country's reputation.
His move follows the publication of images on the internet of bashed calves on a New Zealand-owned dairy farm in Chile.
Mr Guy says on his farm in very rare situations a calf would be in a lot of distress and he would hit it to put it out of its misery.