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26 July 2002
Fifty severely emaciated livestock have been euthanased on a Northland dairy
Earl Culham of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Special Investigation
Unit said there was no other alternative but to humanely put down the starving
"This is a very upsetting situation for everyone concerned. The decision
to slaughter was made yesterday in consultation with local vets, and an
independent farm management consultant.
"The farm was heavily overstocked with 459 cows grazing on a 400-acre
farm, 100 acres of which is in swamp.
"A farm this size cannot support such a large herd, the cattle were in a
very poor condition," he said.
MAF responded to a tip off from a member of the public on July 4. Animal
welfare inspectors from the Special Investigation Group visited the farm on July
5 and advised the farmer to find new pasture and supplementary feed for the
"When no action was taken, we had no alternative but to intervene in
what was clearly an extreme animal welfare situation," he said
Alternative grazing has been found for approximately 90% of the remaining
herd and the farmer will retain 40 cattle. A number more appropriate to a farm
this size given the amount of grazing available.
Under the Animal Welfare Act offenders can be charged up to $50,000 or three
years in jail.
For more information contact:
Earl Culham 021 767864, Philippa White 04 498 9948 025 223 1875