A dairy company has been fined almost $60,000 over what the Ministry for Primary Industries is calling the worst case of long-term neglect in the South Island dairy sector.
Castlerock Dairies Limited, based in Invercargill, pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Animal Welfare Act before being sentenced in the Invercargill District Court yesterday.
Two farms with 2000 cows and 700ha each were involved in the neglect, where the cows were suffering from such a degree of lameness that they could not be treated.
“The walk to the milking sheds, because of the mud and the distance from the paddocks to the sheds, would take up to three hours one way during which time the lame animals would have been in significant pain,” MPI manager of compliance investigations Gary Orr said. ”The lanes had not been adequately maintained for about two years which is what contributed to the situation.”
A total of 193 cows had to be euthanised and 761 needed medical treatment; 14 vets were required to spend weeks on the property.
The animals also suffered from ingrown horns which the managers failed to get treatment for.
A senior veterinarian with over 18 years’ experience who treated the animals described the situation as “disturbing” and the extent of animal welfare issues on the farm as almost beyond comprehension.