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Far North Farmer Sentenced For Ill Treatment

11 March 2005

Far North Farmer Sentenced For Ill Treatment of Cattle

Kaitaia farmer Alan William Summers was today sentenced in the Whangarei District Court on three charges for ill treatment of cattle. He entered guilty pleas to all three charges on 15 February.

Summers was sentenced to 350 hours’ community work, disqualified from farming bovines for two years, and ordered to pay $4000 costs.

The charges stemmed from an animal welfare complaint about the state of the animals on Mr Summers farm, which was investigated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in July 2002.

After initial meetings with Mr Summers an inspection of the farm took place by agreement with Mr Summers. As a result, the Ministry decided to launch “Operation Silvanus”, a five day operation involving Ministry officials, farm consultants and vets entering onto Mr Summers’ farm, mustering, tagging, weighing and assessing all the animals, and taking various samples from them. In addition, samples of hay and pasture were also taken.

The farm was in poor condition – poor pasture conditions, poor soil fertility, inadequate drainage, inadequate water reticulation and inadequate fencing, both on the boundary and internally, including inadequately fenced or unfenced open drains.

Mr Summers was known to the Ministry from previous incidents involving animal welfare in 1989 (at which time he was convicted of offences under the relevant legislation) and 1999 (when there was Ministry intervention but no prosecution).

It was clear after the inspections had taken place there were serious animal welfare problems in relation to Mr Summers’ animals. Those in the worst condition had to be shot to put them out of their misery, and 318 others were removed and taken to alternative grazing. A few animals were left on the farm.

After the completion of Operation Silvanus some of the animals were returned to Mr Summers’ farm by direction of the Court in February 2003 under an Enforcement Order.

Charge 1:

Ill treatment of an animal namely a cow bearing tag number 11. This cow was found dumped over a boundary fence on the eastern side of the property covered with bush. Mr Summers stated he placed the animal there after it died. A post mortem revealed the cow died from starvation.

Charge 2:

Ill treatment of an animal namely a cow bearing tag number 245. This cow was located cast in a swamp. Mr Summers was asked to feed it and transport it to a shed for preferential treatment. The following morning the cow was located in the same paddock. In the opinion of the vet the animal was beyond redemption and it was put down. A post mortem revealed the cow was seven to eight months in calf and was emaciated due to starvation.

Charge 3:

Ill treatment of animals namely cows. This charge related to 22 cattle. They were put down due to their having poor body condition, making them unfit for transport and unable to remain on the property owing to a lack of food.

Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry Compliance & Enforcement Group

ENDS

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