20 Nov 2015

Farmer fined $33,000 for sheep deaths

3:54 pm on 20 November 2015

A Manawatu farmer has been fined $33,000 after more than 120 sheep suffered what a vet described as slow miserable deaths from intestinal parasites.

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Sheep on a farm in New Zealand (file) Photo: 123rf.com

Paul Ross Henson, who is 48, had pleaded guilty to charges of reckless ill treatment of animals and failing to meet the needs of his stock.

He was sentenced in Palmerston North District Court on Thursday, where he was also made to pay more than $4000 in veterinary costs.

The Ministry for Primary Industries laid the charges after it was alerted to the animals through its welfare line in June.

An MPI animal welfare inspector found 111 dead hoggets in varying states of decomposition on a lease block at Peep-o-Day, which is 60km from Henson's home farm near Rongotea.

The inspector said it was clear the sheep had been suffering for some time and another 10 sheep had to be put down.

A vet said the parasites were responsible for the deaths because they stopped the sheep getting enough nourishment from food.

In a written statement, Henson said working long hours on re-developing his home farm had contributed to the sheep deaths.

The remaining sheep recovered and were moved to a block where they could be better supervised.