9 May 2013

Sharemilking company admits cruelty charge

9:48 pm on 9 May 2013

New Zealand's largest sharemilking company, which was facing hundreds of animal cruelty charges, has now pleaded guilty to one representative charge.

Charges against two of Milk Pride's directors, its general manager and a farm manager have been withdrawn.

The company and men went on trial in the Rotorua District Court on Monday facing a total of 625 charges.

They were accused of failing to provide food and water to about 1000 cows on the Taharua Farm near Taupo in the winter and early spring of 2009.

The representative guilty plea on Thursday relates to 392 cows identified by inspectors as being in urgent need of attention at the time.

Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch says the plea is a good outcome for all concerned, as it means the company has accepted responsibility and a lengthy and costly trial can be avoided.

The Ministry for Primary Industries brought the case. It said it is satisfied with the outcome, which makes it very clear to those responsible for animals they have clear obligations for their welfare.

Federated Farmers said the guilty plea sends a strong deterrent message.

Milk Pride will be sentenced in the Rotorua court on 29 May.