Animal welfare plea validates MAF’s actions

Tuesday 15 February 2005

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) believes that today's guilty plea to animal welfare charges it laid against Northland farmer Alan William Summers vindicates its decision to lay criminal charges. Sentencing is currently scheduled for 11 March 2005.

MAF Team Manager Animal Welfare Earl Culham said this case stemmed from an investigation conducted at the Summers' property near Kaitaia in July 2002.

The operation in 2002 involved a large team of MAF staff and assistants. Mr Summers' property was grossly overstocked resulting in a large number of animals in very poor or emaciated condition. As part of that operation it was necessary to euthanase 68 cattle and seize 318.

"MAF takes seriously all incidences of alleged animal welfare abuse that are brought to our attention and the Summers case was no exception. Our investigations relied heavily on the assistance of local veterinarians and we are thankful for their help and support. We also appreciated the support of farm consultants and the Northland Federated Farmers.

"Fortunately most commercial farmers have high standards when it comes to the care and welfare of their livestock, so these sorts of cases are quite uncommon. However the outcome of this case should send a clear signal to all farmers that there are enforceable standards of welfare that need to be complied with," Earl Culham said.

Media contact: Brett Sangster, Director Corporate Communications Phone: 0-27-247 8777 Email: Web:



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