17 Feb 2021

Morrinsville farmer fined after starving 26 cows

11:39 am on 17 February 2021

A Waikato farmer has had to pay almost $5000 after starving 26 cows on his Morrinsville property.

Canterbury region farms

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was tipped off to the abuse by a member of the public in July last year, investigated, and told 59-year-old Alastair Robert Kane Hughes to feed his cattle double what he had been giving them.

MPI animal welfare and NAIT compliance regional manager Brendon Mikkelsen said charges were laid after Hughes was non-compliant with the order.

"After the first visit, Mr Hughes continued to underfeed his cattle, providing them approximately half of their daily feed requirements resulting in the cattle continuing to lose weight.

"Four of those cattle required urgent attention to improve their body condition."

The second inspection was conducted in August 2020 by an animal welfare inspector and a veterinarian.

"All cases of animal abuse are unacceptable, people in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals. The cattle in Mr Hughes' care were suffering from severe malnutrition," Mikkelsen said.

"In New Zealand, everyone must take responsibility for animal welfare. We strongly encourage any member of the public who is aware of animal ill-treatment or cruelty to report it to the MPI animal welfare complaints freephone 0800 00 83 33."

Hughes was fined $2500 for failing to adequately feed 26 cattle and $1000 for not complying with the requirements of a notice issued by an MPI animal welfare inspector.

He was also ordered to pay vet costs of $1442.22.