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Warning after livestock agent illegally tags cattle

Media release

28 November 2012

Warning after livestock agent illegally tags cattle at saleyard

The conviction of a senior livestock agent in Blenheim serves as a warning that the illegal tagging of cattle will not be tolerated, says the Animal Health Board (AHB).

Richard John May, 66, and from Seddon, admitted two breaches of the Biosecurity Act after he “helped out a mate” by attaching three tags to a friend’s animals at the Blenheim public saleyard. The tags he used belonged to other farmers.

However, following a report from the on-site movement control and identification officer, the AHB’s own investigation led to May being prosecuted for the incident which took place in October last year.

May was convicted on two charges and fined $750 in recognition of an early guilty plea. He could have faced a fine of up to $50,000 and/or 12 months in jail.

AHB Technical and Farm Services Manager, Stu Hutchings, said May’s actions were unlawful and had the potential to create unnecessary risks for farmers and the TB control programme.

“This prosecution sends a clear message to people not to try and take shortcuts. We will continue to be vigilant and will not hesitate to take action against those who fail to follow proper procedures which are designed to protect others,” said Dr Hutchings.

“Fortunately, the majority of farmers in New Zealand realise the importance of complying with identification requirements to ensure disease management is effective in protecting their livelihoods and our reputation overseas.

“The incorrect identification of cattle or deer can lead to a significant waste of resources if animals in a herd cannot be identified quickly and accurately.”

Dr Hutchings stressed that the incorrect use of RFID ear tags remains a breach of the Biosecurity Act. Offenders may also be considered to have breached the NAIT Act.

-ends-

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