20 Aug 2013

Herd manager admits breaking cows' tails

6:07 am on 20 August 2013

An Ashburton herd manager has been convicted of animal welfare charges in the latest in a series of tail-breaking cases on dairy farms.

Kevin Craig Smith, 38, appeared in the Ashburton District Court on Monday, where he admitted deliberately breaking the tails of more than 150 dairy cows, as well as striking cows with a plastic pipe. He will been sentenced on 14 October.

It is the fourth such case this year.

A dairy farm worker in Taranaki will be sentenced next month after admitting breaking the tails of 40 cows by twisting them, while in February a farmer in Waikato was sentenced to more than two years for animal cruelty offences committed last year, which included breaking the tails of 115 cows.

Also in February, a West Coast dairy farm worker was sentenced to 300 hours community service, and banned from owning cows for five years for fracturing or injuring the tails of almost half of the cows in a herd of 500.

DairyNZ and Federated Farmers both say that rather than a spike in incidents of abuse, the four cases are more likely to be the result of increased reporting.