Waikato dairy farmer jailed in animal welfare case appeal
A Waikato dairy farmer was sentenced yesterday in the Rotorua High Court for serious animal welfare offences.
Following an appeal by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Lourens Barend Erasmus was sentenced to two years and one month imprisonment. Justice Priestly described his offending as "wilful, intentional and repetitive", he deferred the start of the jail term until Monday and bailed Erasmus to his Pastor's Waihi home.
Waikato/Bay of Plenty District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen said Erasmus' offending was the worst type of animal welfare cruelty dealt with in his district, and likely nationally through the courts.
The MPI investigation found that he had been breaking his cows' tails (115 of the 135 cow herd) when hitting them on the hind legs with a stainless steel pipe and stainless still milking cups at the milking shed. Brendon Mikkelsen said "The MPI inspection in late February 2012 revealed serious animal welfare issues, with cows on the property showing obvious signs of injuries and severe distress".
"This sentencing reflects the view of MPI, industry and the Courts that any animal welfare abuse is unacceptable. MPI believes the sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offending and sends a strong message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated."
Persons in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals, and the vast majority of persons in charge of animals on farms and the industry take their obligations very seriously.
MPI's Animal Welfare team cannot be everywhere so it is vital that farmers, the industry, associated on-farm service providers and the public maintain vigilance and report animal welfare breaches on our hot line 0800 00 83 33. Calls can be treated in confidence if necessary. MPI and industry will continue to work together to help ensure this type of incident does not occur in the future.