New Zealand farmer fined for mistreating cows

Wellington: A New Zealand farmer who underfed nearly 300 cows has been fined NZ$9,000 ($6,300) and ordered to pay vet costs of NZ$1,763 ($1,234), according to a statement by the Ministry For Primary Industries.

Nigel George Rowan from Waikato also faces permanent restrictions on the number of animals he can own, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday citing the statement as saying.

Rowan pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act at the Hamilton District Court for under-feeding 178 milking cows, 50 dry cows and a mob of 60 heifers.

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In addition, the farmer has been disqualified from having more than 250 cattle over the age of six months and 60 calves under the age of six months on the farm.

The court heard that the situation could have been managed, but Rowan allowed conditions on his farm to deteriorate. 

Between 2018 and 2020, he received advice and a plan to improve the body condition of his animals from a number of parties, including his industry bodies and a farm consultant.

Ministry For Primary Industries’ Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance Regional Manager Brendon Mikkelsen said people in charge of animals have responsibility for their welfare.

“Rowan failed his animals by not taking opportunities to address the issues. Our Animal Welfare Inspectors, backed by a veterinarian, inspected all 288 cattle at the property and found the farm low on pasture,” Mikkelsen said.

“Supplementary feed was available but it wasn’t being fed out at a level that would improve the situation for his animals.

“The body weight of many of the milking mob was too low for milking and some of these animals had become emaciated, while others showed signs of stunted growth,” Mikkelsen added. 

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