A Waikato farm owner has been convicted and fined $2,700 after admitting he failed to ensure the physical and health needs of 157 cows in his care.
Fifty one-year-old Shane Kingsley Torstonson of Kaihere, Morrinsville, was also ordered to pay court costs of $130 when he appeared in the Morrinsville District Court earlier this week.
Torstonson grazed 157, one-year-old dairy replacement heifers at his two hundred and fifty hectare farm from July 2015. When the animals were transferred to a second grazier 10 months later, that grazier became immediately concerned about the condition of the animals.
A vet who was asked to assess the animals found signs that were consistent with the animals being underfed for a prolonged period of time.
Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman, Brendon Mikkelsen, says graziers are responsible for the animals in their care and must ensure they provide them with proper and enough food.
“A shortage of feed is no excuse. In this case seven animals were confirmed as having died and the whereabouts of a further 6 animals can’t be explained.
“This case serves as a timely reminder for farmers who send their animals off to a grazier to ensure those animals’ physical, health and daily feed requirements are being met. Irrespective of whether a grazing contract exists, it is prudent to inspect your animals to ensure their welfare needs are being met.
“Our thorough investigation into this incident resulted in Torstonson being convicted and fined under section 12(a) of the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act places legal responsibility for the welfare of animals on both the owner and the people in charge of animals.
“The outcome of this case sends a very clear message to anyone involved in grazing animals that they are ultimately responsible for the animals in their care and, quite simply, this sort of failure will not be tolerated.”
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