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CONVICTIONS FOR CRUELTY AND NEGLECT ON DAIRY AND BEEF FARMS

The following is a list of some convictions for cruelty and neglect, primarily on dairy farms -
  • February 2005 - Far North dairy farmer Alan Summers pleaded guilty to ill-treating an animal and a representative charge of ill-treating an animal after MAF officials removed 386 cows from his farm and took them to another farm, where 68 had to be shot immediately as they were close to starvation
  • 2005 Lester Donald Reuben Johnstone of Maungatapere fined $34,000 and banned from owning stock for five years after being convicted of animal cruelty. Earlier, in 1993, Johnstone was ordered to pay fines and costs of $1906 on one count of aggravated cruelty to a cow, three counts of neglecting an animal, two of keeping an animal alive when it was cruel to do so, and one of cruelly ill-treating an animal. In April 1997 Johnstone was fined $12,000 and disqualified from farming for two years after being convicted of cruelty and neglect (see also 2015 conviction)
  • November 2007- Alan Summers was sentenced for breaching a court order relating to three previous offences concerning starving cows
  • January 2010 Rotorua farmer Mark Spitz pleaded guilty to five charges after hundreds of starving and dead cattle were found on his property. Spitz was visited in July 2007 by MAF after a complaint about dead and starving cattle. He was given written notice to improve animal welfare conditions. Further notices were issued when MAF visited the property again and found Spitz had done very little, if anything, to alleviate the growing concern about his animals.
  • 2012 – Lourens Erasmus broke 115 cows’ tails and beat cows repeatedly with steel milking cups and a three foot long steel bar
  • February 2012 – a Dunedin farm labourer was convicted of ill-treatment of a calf hit in the face with steel pipe and blinded
  • September 2012 - Tjeer Visser was sentenced for failing to meet cows’ physical and health needs, with more than 120 animals dying
  • September 2012 – neglected cows found at Rotomanu had to be euthanised
  • September 2012 Waikato – 80 cows were left without water and inadequate food for four days. No charges were laid and the farmer was let off with a warning
  • September 2012 - 180 cows found starving on the West Coast were euthanised
  • November 2012 – three Gisborne family members were sentenced for ill-treating and neglecting horses and cattle
  • February 2013 Michael Jackson pleaded guilty to failing to alleviate pain or distress in 230 injured cows with twisted or broken tails
  • August 2013 – Kevin Smith was convicted of breaking 154 cows’ tails and hitting cows with a pipe
  • September 2013 – Canterbury dairy farmed Geoffrey Deal pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences after 70 per cent of his cows were found in poor condition
  • September 2013 dairy farmer Saul Beaumont pleaded guilty to breaking 46 cows’ tails; when a vet visited his farm in January 2103 and examined the herd of 500 cows, more than 200 had some degree of tail damage. The SPCA laid 46 charges against Beaumont of failing to prevent animal suffering. Beaumont was seen grabbing a cow’s tail and snapping it. He was told he would receive a written warning and that if he continued the behaviour he would be fired – an inadequate response to such deliberate cruelty. Several weeks later, fresh tail breaks were noticed and in January 2013 Beaumont was again seen breaking a cow’s tail
  • October 2013 herd manager Nathan Morunga was dismissed for cruelty to a cow
  • August 2014 the media reported that MPI was investigating an alleged animal neglect case on a dairy farm in Rodney. Several dairy cows were put down
  • October 2014 Stratford dairy farmer Timothy Gilbert was sentenced after pleading guilty to animal cruelty. An MPI inspector visited Gilbert’s farm and found 65 cows with maimed tails. Some animals had multiple breaks in their tails – injuries that take considerable force to inflict
  • March 2015 West Coast cattle farming father and son Robert and Jeremy Ussher sentenced and banned from owning animals after 152 starving cows had to be euthanised on a West Coast farm. Robert Ussher was convicted on six charges of ill-treating animals and one of failing to supply sufficient feed. His son was sentenced on a representative charge of ill-treating animals and failing to supply sufficient feed. The Ministry for Primary Industries said – yet again – that it was one of the worst cases it had encountered
  • April 2015 Leeston dairy farmer Clyde McIntosh pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act and his company, Riverbrae Dairy Farm Ltd, pleaded guilty to four charges, including recklessly ill-treating dairy cows. The charges arose after a member of the public reported seeing severely lame dairy cows. MPI District Compliance Manager Peter Hyde said the pain in the hooves of some of the cows was so severe they would not stand or walk to water troughs
  • May 2015 Lester Donald Reuben Johnstone convicted of failing to ensure the physical and health needs to six calves were met. Johnstone was disqualified from owning stock for 20 years and fined. Two calves starved to death, one had to be put down and three were removed from the property to reduce their suffering. MPI staff paid four visits to the farm in 2014 to inspect skinny calves after a complaint. They found animal welfare issues, including a mob of skinny weaner calves in a paddock without grass or water, an emaciated young cow having difficulty standing, and two calves who had died of starvation. MPI staff several times directed Johnstone to provide better grazing and supplementary feed but he ignored them
  • July 2015 South Waikato dairy farmer Tony Clayton was sentenced for the neglect and ill-treatment of cows who became malnourished or starved to death
  • 7 October 2015 Michael Whitelock sentenced to  four-and-a-half years’ jail and banned from owning animals for 10 years after pleading guilty to ill-treatment of animals. Whitelock was the dairy manager on a farm near Westport where he beat cows, broke their tails and shot them in the kneecaps. 152 cows and 57 heifers had their tails broken. Whitelock beat a cow with a fencing baton, resulting in a traumatic eye injury. When he failed to euthanise the animal, she was placed in the offal pit while still alive
  • 2 December 2015 Taranaki farmer Rodney Wilson sentenced for breaking 157 cows’ tails – the tails of more than half the cows in his dairy herd.

 



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