22 May 2024

Taranaki farmer on home detention after failing to care for his cattle

4:20 pm on 22 May 2024
New Plymouth District Court

Photo: NZME / Tara Shaskey

A Taranaki dairy farmer has been placed on home detention and disqualified from being charge of animals for 18 months after failing care for his cattle resulting in some being euthanised.

Ray Ernest Nairn, 56, was sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court after pleading guilty to eight charges under the Animal Welfare Act

In November 2021, a Ministry for Primary Industries Animal Welfare Inspector and veterinarian inspected Nairn's 230 cattle following a complaint about their poor condition.

Some were found to be severely underweight and in poor health because of a lack of grass cover and supplementary feed.

MPI regional manager, animal welfare and NAIT Compliance, Joanna Tuckwell, said Nairn was an experienced farmer.

"He knew what his welfare responsibilities to his animals were, and he failed them.

"Some of these animals were sick, emaciated, and in such poor condition that the only option was to euthanise them.

"When we find evidence of deliberate animal neglect, we will take action and put the case before the court."

Several animals had to be euthanised, including a heavily pregnant and emaciated Friesian cow. Another cow suffering from a long-standing mastitis infection was also euthanised.

The veterinarian said Nairn had continued to milk this cow twice daily, despite it having an open and discharging wound.

Seven other underweight dairy cows were found to be receiving insufficient feed to maintain milk production without further weight loss occurring. A severely lame cow was sent to a meat processing plant following treatment.

During the inspection, Nairn was directed to dry off some cows to enable the animals to recover to a healthy weight and prevent further suffering.

Animal Welfare Inspectors returned to the farm a month later and found there were two cows that had not been dried off.

"Mr Nairn was directed to stop milking these cows, which he didn't do, causing further suffering," Tuckwell said.

"Most farmers do right thing for their animals - providing sufficient and quality feed and timely veterinarian treatment. It's disappointing that we had to again direct Mr Nairn to stop milking these cows for the sake of their welfare."

The court also imposed a special condition on Nairn that must undertake treatment and counselling as directed by the Department of Corrections.

He was also ordered to pay $4597.13 in veterinarian costs.

Tuckwell said animal welfare was everyone's responsibility and MPI strongly encouraged anyone who is aware of ill-treatment or cruelty to report it to its animal welfare complaints freephone 0800 00 83 33.