MPI is encouraging West Coast farmers short of feed to seek help early if there are signs that stock are beginning to struggle.
MPI is working with some farmers on the West Coast to mitigate animal welfare matters as farmers deal with constant wet weather and poor pasture growth.
MPI Animal Welfare Manager Peter Hyde says Animal Welfare Inspectors have a good understanding of the difficulties farmers are facing on the West Coast and that MPI are there to help with animal welfare concerns.
“Farmers are dealing with a prolonged spell of bad weather. MPI is not there to persecute farmers who are up against it. We are looking for solutions and seeing what can be done in the short term to assist with the care of stock that are struggling.”
“Animal Welfare Inspectors can talk to the right people on the owners’ behalf.
“We can liaise with Federated Farmers to see what is out there in the way of supplementary feed and put owners in contact with the Rural Support Trust.
“We encourage stock owners who can see animal welfare problems looming to get help early.”
Mr Hyde says MPI is monitoring the situation on the West Coast and keeping in regular contact with Westland Milk Products, Dairy NZ, and veterinarians.
Mr Hyde says some cows are lighter than farmers would like for this time of year, and Animal Welfare Inspectors have been looking into complaints made by the public.
“These cows are definitely light, but not to the point where it would be considered to be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act.”
“It’s been a very stressful start to the season for farmers. They’re having to shift stock several times a day to stop paddocks getting too pugged. Many farmers are doing more with less staff and resources. This means staff are working huge hours.
“Everyone is praying for a few weeks fine weather to give pasture a chance to grow. Decent grass growth will do a lot to mitigate this problem.
“However MPI will not tolerate wilful negligence or cruelty.”
Mr Hyde says owners and managers have a duty of care to ensure stock do not suffer unnecessarily.