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Ill treatment of cow earns farm manager community service

29 March 2012

Ill treatment of cow earns farm manager community service

A Whangarei farm manager has been convicted under animal welfare legislation after an investigation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).

Wilson Komene was sentenced in the Whangarei District Court on 27 March for reckless ill treatment of an animal under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

In February 2011 Mr Komene sent cattle to a local processing plant where staff noticed that a cow had an extremely swollen eye and was without a veterinary certificate stating it was fit to be transported.

Examination by a MAF vet and independent post mortem confirmed that the cow’s condition was an advanced and severe case of cancer of the eye. The eye and right side of the head were grossly swollen; there was brown discharge from the eye, extensive scar tissue on the cornea, and a bacterial infection. The vet determined it is likely there would have been considerable pain and suffering from this tumour especially from the pressure and irritation on the sensitive tissues of the eye.

When interviewed by a MAF Animal Welfare Investigator, Mr Komene admitted he knew the cow had a swollen eye some months before and tried to treat it himself. However, he did not seek any veterinarian advice and knew things had gotten worse.

MAF Regional Operations Manager Ross Thurston says cases of untreated cancer eye like this are simply unacceptable, especially since treatment can easily be sought.

“Cancer eye is treatable and recovery rates are near on 90%. There is no excuse for animals to be unnecessarily suffering because of it and we take reports very seriously.”

“Everyone who works with animals has to take responsibility for their health and welfare, and prevent unnecessary pain and suffering. MAF will continue to take a hard line with those that don’t comply and it is positive knowing that others involved in the chain are aware of that and are reporting cases like this to us so we can act appropriately.”


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