Advanced Search | Help
11 March 2005
Kaitaia farmer Alan William Summers was today sentenced in the Whangarei
District Court on three charges for ill treatment of cattle. He entered guilty
pleas to all three charges on 15 February.
Summers was sentenced to 350 hours' community work, disqualified from farming
bovines for two years, and ordered to pay $4000 costs.
The charges stemmed from an animal welfare complaint about the state of the
animals on Mr Summers farm, which was investigated by the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry in July 2002.
After initial meetings with Mr Summers an inspection of the farm took place
by agreement with Mr Summers. As a result, the Ministry decided to launch
"Operation Silvanus", a five day operation involving Ministry officials, farm
consultants and vets entering onto Mr Summers' farm, mustering, tagging,
weighing and assessing all the animals, and taking various samples from them. In
addition, samples of hay and pasture were also taken.
The farm was in poor condition – poor pasture conditions, poor soil
fertility, inadequate drainage, inadequate water reticulation and inadequate
fencing, both on the boundary and internally, including inadequately fenced or
unfenced open drains.
Mr Summers was known to the Ministry from previous incidents involving animal
welfare in 1989 (at which time he was convicted of offences under the relevant
legislation) and 1999 (when there was Ministry intervention but no prosecution).
It was clear after the inspections had taken place there were serious animal
welfare problems in relation to Mr Summers' animals. Those in the worst
condition had to be shot to put them out of their misery, and 318 others were
removed and taken to alternative grazing. A few animals were left on the farm.
After the completion of Operation Silvanus some of the animals were returned
to Mr Summers' farm by direction of the Court in February 2003 under an
Charge 1: Ill treatment of an animal namely a cow bearing tag number 11. This
cow was found dumped over a boundary fence on the eastern side of the property
covered with bush. Mr Summers stated he placed the animal there after it died. A
post mortem revealed the cow died from starvation.
Charge 2: Ill treatment of an animal namely a cow bearing tag number 245.
This cow was located cast in a swamp. Mr Summers was asked to feed it and
transport it to a shed for preferential treatment. The following morning the cow
was located in the same paddock. In the opinion of the vet the animal was beyond
redemption and it was put down. A post mortem revealed the cow was seven to
eight months in calf and was emaciated due to starvation.
Charge 3: Ill treatment of animals namely cows. This charge related to 22
cattle. They were put down due to their having poor body condition, making them
unfit for transport and unable to remain on the property owing to a lack of
Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry Compliance & Enforcement Group
Media contact: Phil Barclay, MAF Senior Communications Adviser Phone: 0-4-470
2753 or 027 229 9145 Email: