500 chickens destroyed at Kaihinu property

Janna Sherman

At least 500 chickens were destroyed yesterday in a Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) operation at a Kaihinu
property, on the outskirts of Hokitika.
The former market garden, owned by Doug Cook, remained cordoned off and under quarantine yesterday as MPI set about euthanising the birds, which it is understood were infected with tuberculosis
Acting sergeant Jason Martin, of Hokitika police, said about 450 had been killed on Monday, and the destruction continued yesterday.
The MPI has refused to comment other than to confirm its attentions were on a West Coast address.
“The MPI can confirm it is investigating a situation at a West Coast property concerning the welfare of chickens,” Canterbury-Westland district compliance manager Peter Hyde said in response to questions from the Guardian.
“The ministry cannot comment any further on the issue while investigations are under way.”
Mr Cook, 71, was not present at the time. He has been in custody at Christchurch Men’s Prison for about a month, charged with contravening a protection order and breaching his bail conditions. He had previously been forbidden from contacting his partner.
Until recently eggs from the Kaihinu property had been sold as ‘free range’ from a roadside stall.
A complaint on the quality of the eggs was made in a
letter to the editor of the Guardian in February by a Westport visitor who purchased a $7 carton.
Ron Coleman said he was told by a man at the property they were “barn eggs” but as good as free range because “the chooks got out all the time”.
Mr Coleman described the eggs as bantam size with pale yellow yolks.