A farmer from Kinloch near Taupō has been fined $12,000 and ordered to pay vet costs of $5,292.20 for failing to feed 245 calves and adequately treat and prevent parasites, along with ill-treating 5 calves.
Anthony Conan Brolly, 34, appeared in Taupō District Court for sentencing on 7 animal welfare charges, after the case was brought to court by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
MPI Animal Welfare and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) compliance regional manager, Brendon Mikkelsen, says this is very serious offending. All cases of animal abuse are unacceptable.
"The animals were Mr Brolly's primary responsibility and he failed them. He failed to provide proper and sufficient food for a long period. He knew he should have treated the animals for parasites, but he didn't."
An animal welfare inspector visited Mr Brolly's 55-hectare leased property at Tirau on May 20, 2020, after a complaint from a member of the public.
The inspector found the majority of Mr Brolly's calves in a paddock in an emaciated condition. One calf had died and was seized for examination. The post-mortem showed that it had died following an extended period of malnutrition.
On 21 May 2020, an animal welfare inspector and a veterinarian returned to the property. They found another recently deceased calf and 3 calves stuck in a bog at the end of the paddock.
Large amounts of parasitic worms were found to be present in a sample of calves.
The veterinarian said the scale of the issue on Mr Brolly's farm was of a magnitude and severity he had never seen before in his 25 years of experience.
Mr Mikkelsen says, "Without the intervention of animal welfare officers those calves stuck in mud would have died within the following 24 to 48 hours.
"In New Zealand, everyone must take responsibility for animal welfare. We strongly encourage any member of the public who is aware of animal ill-treatment or cruelty to report it to the MPI animal welfare complaints freephone 0800 00 83 33".