10 Aug 2020

UK goat farm abuse claims lead OIO to investigate owner's NZ investments

2:58 pm on 10 August 2020

An animal abuse scandal in the United Kingdom has raised the interest of a government department here.

No caption

(File image of goats). Photo: RNZ/Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

The Overseas Investment Office told RNZ it is looking into allegations of animal abuse on a British goat farm - whose owner also has investments in New Zealand.

British newspaper The Independent claims footage taken on a large UK farm, owned by Yorkshire Dairy Goats, shows animals being kicked and punched by farm workers.

The company's founder is Angus Wielkopolski who, two years ago, gained Overseas Investment Office approval to purchase a dairy goat farm in New Zealand along with his wife Kathleen Wielkopolski.

OIO enforcement manager Simon Pope said the department's enforcement team would look into the situation and assess what - if any - impact it had on their consent granted in New Zealand. That process could take about eight weeks, he said.

"While we work through this process, we cannot comment any further," he said.

RNZ has tried to seek comment from Angus Wielkopolski - who told The Independent he was disgusted by the footage and said if he had known what was going on he would have stopped it instantly.