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Greens Call For Maximum Penalties For Animal Abuse

Green MP Sue Kedgley today called on the Minister of Agriculture to apply maximum penalties under the Animal Welfare Act against the Northland farmer who allowed animals on his farm to starve to death and others to feed off rotting carcasses when he had 30 large bales of hay in a shed and had built a new house.

The animals were described by Northland Federated Farmers director Bill Guest as being like survivors of a concentration camp, with pigs eating cattle that were dropping dead.

"We need to send a clear signal to farmers that allowing animals to starve to death is a clear form of animal abuse and will not be tolerated under any circumstances," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said she was concerned that the Ministry was still considering whether or not to prosecute Mr Johnstone.

"Farmers have a fundamental responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act to ensure their animals do not suffer and have their basic needs for food and shelter met. These responsibilities have clearly been neglected," she said.

"If animal owners don't protect their animals, they should automatically be prosecuted and should face the full weight of the law."

Ms Kedgley said the Ministry needed to be proactive on the issue, given the feed shortages being faced throughout New Zealand farms, and warned all farmers that if they allowed their animals to starve they would be automatically prosecuted under the Act.

Ends


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