Farmer broke cows' tails, court heard

By Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ

A Waikino farmer who broke the tails of more than 100 of his dairy cows and hit them with steel pipes has been convicted for ill-treating the animals.

Laurens Barend Erasmus, 40, was sentenced in the Waihi District Court yesterday to ten months home detention with judicial monitoring at three month intervals.

In late February, a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Animal Welfare compliance team inspected the dairy herd on Erasmus's farm.

An investigation found he had been breaking his cow's tails, (115 of the 135 cow herd) hitting them on the hind legs with a steel pipe and stainless steel milking cups at the dairy shed.

MPI Waikato/BOP compliance manager Brendon Mikkelsen said the inspection revealed serious animal welfare issues with cows on the property showing obvious signs of physical injuries and severe distress.

Twenty-five of the 135 dairy cow herd on the property were put down due to the serious pain and distress they were in.

Those injuries included broken legs, swollen hocks, weeping lesions, swollen joints and infections and fractured legs.

Erasmus faced a maximum jail term of five years' imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $100,000 and disqualification from owning and or exercising authority in respect of animals.

``Persons in charge of animals have a fundamental obligation for the welfare of those animals. The vast majority of persons in charge of animals on farms take their obligations very seriously,'' Mr Mikkelsen said.

``MPI's animal welfare compliance team cannot be everywhere so it is vital farmers, industry, associated on-farm service providers and the public maintain vigilance and report alleged Animal Welfare Act breaches on our hotline 0800 00 83 33.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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