A Taumarunui stock trader who transported chronically ill and severely lame goats to a processing plant has been fined $6,000 under the Animal Welfare Act.
55-year-old David Renouf Hutchings was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court yesterday.
He earlier pleaded guilty to 3 charges relating to the transport of 55 severely lame goats who were also suffering a range of illnesses including an ingrown horn, poor body condition, and exposed tendons.
Hutchings' offending was detected by a Ministry for Primary Industries veterinarian on 3 occasions in January and February this year.
On the first occasion, 24 of the 167 goats transported were drafted out for severe lameness, the signs of which included head-bobbing, cross legs, refusing to walk, and limping. One goat had severe muscle wasting on a back leg. Those goats were priority slaughtered.
On the second occasion, 30 goats were drafted out for lameness and other welfare issues. One goat was emergency slaughtered after it showed signs of chronic sickness including depression, poor body condition, nasal discharge, and difficulty in getting up. The tendons and joint capsules in its knees were exposed due to the fact the goat used its knees rather than its feet.
On the third occasion, one of the goats being transported was found to be severely lame as well as having an ingrown horn which was fly struck where it penetrated the skin. A post-mortem examination on this animal also revealed an open chest wound.
Ministry for Primary Industries North Region Manager of Animal Welfare Compliance, Brendon Mikkelsen, says the goats in question suffered a great deal of pain as a result of the transporting.
Their injuries and level of illness were severe. Some underwent emergency and priority slaughter as a result. Offending like this will not be tolerated.
Negligence aside, the Animal Welfare Act states that animals must not be transported unless they are fit enough to withstand the entire journey without suffering unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
They also must not be transported if they display any injuries, signs of diseases, or physical abnormalities that could compromise their welfare during the journey unless a veterinary declaration of fitness for transport has been completed.”
In addition to the $6,000 fine, Mr Hutchings was also ordered to pay court costs of $390.