Green Grass Farms and contract milker fined almost $10,000 for over 100 cow tail breaks

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Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

An Invercargill farming operation and a contract milker employed by the company have been convicted and fined almost $10,000 after more than 100 cows in their care suffered broken tails.

Green Grass Farms Limited and Wilem Barend Wouters were sentenced when they appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to 1 charge each under the Animal Welfare Act.

The company was fined $4,500 plus court costs of $130, solicitor’s fees of $500, and vet fees totalling $624.

Wouters was fined $5,000 plus court costs of $130, solicitor’s fees of $500, and vet fees totalling $624.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) animal welfare inspectors and an independent veterinarian inspected the dairy herd owned by Green Grass Farms Limited in February 2019 and found 101 cows with broken tails.

Manager animal welfare compliance Gray Harrison says the cows’ injuries were consistent with excessive force being applied during handling.

“The injuries were most likely the result of twisting the tail with considerable force to cause ligament rupture and dislocation, causing the cows pain or distress. Initially, the pain would be acute lasting at least 7 days and, while the acute pain would diminish, the cows would always be left with long-term pain, discomfort, and reduction of function.

“The Animal Welfare Act imposes a duty of care on owners and people in charge of animals to meet their animals’ physical, health, and behavioural needs, and to provide treatment that alleviates pain and distress suffered by any ill or injured animals,” says Mr Harrison.

“MPI is concerned that this was an avoidable situation where animals suffered unnecessarily.

“We will always take appropriate action to penalise people who treat animals this way.”

MPI encourages anyone with animal welfare complaints to use its confidential hotline: 0800 00 83 33.

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