14 Oct 2016

Secret cameras found in Waikato dairy sheds

12:55 pm on 14 October 2016

Dairy farmers are being urged to check their farms for hidden cameras after some Waikato farmers found them in their milking sheds.

Security cameras have been found filming in Waikato dairy sheds.

Security cameras have been found filming in Waikato dairy sheds. Photo: 123rf

It remains unclear who installed the cameras.

Waikato Federated Farmers President Chris Lewis said a number of farmers had discovered cameras on their properties.

But Mr Lewis said he would love to divulge the details of who was behind the cameras, but he could not say much more because it was under investigation by the police.

However, police said they did not know anything about the hidden cameras and no complaints have been made.

Mr Lewis said it was a shocking invasion of privacy.

Hidden cameras had only been found on dairy farms in Waikato so far, but dairy farmers across the country should keep an eye out for strangers acting suspiciously on their farms, Mr Lewis said.

He said farmers had noticed the LED lights in the dark early mornings and reminded people that dairy farmers also had security cameras on their farms.

Last year animal welfare activists used hidden cameras to film abuse of bobby calves.

SAFE says cameras don't belong to it

Animal Rights group SAFE said the cameras did not belong to it, while another group, Farmwatch, would neither confirm or deny they installed the cameras.

Farmwatch investigator John Darroch said the group did not comment on operational matters, or how they carried out investigations.

Bobby calf abuse made headlines last year when SAFE and Farmwatch released video footage, showing calves thrown on trucks and bashed at a slaughterhouse before being killed.

"When we put out cameras last year, in most instances we found examples of animal abuse," Mr Darroch said.

"I think if the Ministry of Primary Industries or the dairy industry itself used cameras to monitor dairy farms, the public would be shocked by what they see."

Waikato Farmer Mike Moss said the idea of camera monitoring on farms was ridiculous.

"There may be a case for the odd camera in a meatworks but certainly not on all farms - it would be counter-productive and an invasion of privacy.

"I would put it to the people who are promoting that idea, how would they like a camera in their home?"

The discovery of the cameras was disappointing, Mr Moss said.

"99 per cent of the industry is doing a really good job and trying really hard in often difficult conditions to get it right - there have been a handful of operators that let us down badly [but] I think the systems and quality assurances have been put in place and there is better education."

Farmers looked after their stock and for someone to trespass onto a farm and install a hidden camera was not okay, he said.

Some groups were pursuing an agenda and had little understanding of farming, Mr Moss said.

"Yes, they have highlighted some behaviours which need to be addressed, but sometimes I think their agenda is much bigger than what is portrayed."

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