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Hawkes Bay Regional Council applauded for feedlot crackdown

1 December 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fish & Game is applauding the Hawkes Bay Regional Council for its decision to crackdown on stock feedlots in an effort to better protect the environment.

Feedlots see farm stock concentrated into small areas to be fed for lengthy periods and the practice has become increasingly controversial because of both environmental and animal welfare concerns.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council heard at its Wednesday meeting that the majority of the region’s feedlots did not comply with the rules.

The council’s chairman Rex Graham says the council has been caught out and that the rule breaking was driven by greed. Mr Graham says the farmers responsible had made the council look “like idiots.”

The council has now told feedlot operators it will no longer tolerate such practices.

Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Bryce Johnson is congratulating the council for its stand.

“Good on the council for fronting up and admitting it has allowed the situation to go too far,” Mr Johnson says.

“The Regional Council decision to crackdown on feedlots is the sort of leadership people are looking for to ensure their environmental heritage is properly protected. No one has the right to get away with polluting waterways and leaving them unfit for all Hawkes Bay residents to enjoy.”

“The council’s chairman is right to say the feedlot rule breaking was driven by greed.

“The New Zealand public wants swimmable waterways and will have every right to be fed up with such blatant abuse. Surely it is time for the likes of the likes of Beef and Lamb New Zealand to require beef feed lot owners to operate in a sustainable and environmentally respectful way,” Mr Johnson says.

Bryce Johnson says the crackdown on the rule breakers is overdue for Hawkes Bay.

“Contamination by ruminants has been identified as one of the sources of the Havelock North water contamination debacle. It is time strong measures were taken by all regional councils to prevent such pollution causing another similar tragedy elsewhere in the country,” Mr Johnson says.

Bryce Johnson says feedlots are causing increasing concern.

“The current methods being used by some feedlot operators is environmentally unacceptable. The environment is being degraded by effluent and sediment runoff from feedlots and the practice also raises animal welfare issues.”

Mr Johnson says Fish & Game is also raising the issue of environmentally damaging practice of overwintering dairy cows with the agricultural industry and the appropriate government ministers.

“Greater leadership is required from both the drystock and dairy sectors regarding the much needed transition to environmentally responsible pastoral agriculture,” Mr Johnson says.

ENDS


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