Leeston dairy farmer Clyde McIntosh today pleaded guilty to three charges brought under the Animal Welfare Act by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in the Christchurch District Court.
The farm company McIntosh is a Director of, Riverbrae Dairy Farm Ltd, pleaded guilty to four charges including recklessly ill‑treating dairy cows.
The charges arose after a member of the public reported seeing severely lame dairy cows to MPI in May last year. Animal Welfare Inspectors visited the Leeston farm concerned, and another block of land in Miners Road leased by the defendant, and found severely lame dairy cows.
MPI District Compliance Manager Peter Hyde says the pain in the hooves of some of the cows was so severe they would not stand or walk to water troughs.
“In one cow maggots were found in an infected hoof. A veterinary inspection determined the affected cows were suffering from laminitis with secondary infections. Sixteen cows were assessed as being unrecoverable and were humanely euthanised. A further 122 mixed age dairy cows were found to be suffering various degrees of lameness requiring veterinary treatment.”
Mr Hyde says the defendant fully cooperated and engaged his veterinarian to provide the required treatment.
When spoken to by Animal Welfare inspectors, Mr McIntosh said he had been walking the cows from the grazing paddocks to the milking shed twice a day. This could have been a distance of up to 12 kilometres. He also said that the farm had received a large amount of rain in April 2014 causing flooding in the paddocks and races. The defendant believed the significant walking distance and the wet paddocks was the likely cause of the lameness.
MPI’s Animal Welfare Inspectors continued to make regular inspections of the farm until the condition of the cows improved.
Peter Hyde says dairy farmers are encouraged to manage and minimise the incidence of lameness as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary pain and distress in dairy cows.
“Those responsible for the health and welfare dairy cows must be competent in recognising lameness and take remedial action. Professional and veterinary advice must be sought when the lameness persists.”
Clyde McIntosh and Riverbrae Dairy Farm Ltd will be sentenced on 11 June 2015.