A Marlborough livestock agent has been convicted for illegally tagging cows.

The Animal Health Board (AHB) said the conviction of Richard John May, 66, of Seddon served as a warning that the illegal tagging of cattle would not be tolerated.

The senior livestock agent admitted two breaches of the Biosecurity Act after he "helped out a mate" by attaching three tags to a friend's animals at the Blenheim public saleyard.

The tags belonged to other farmers.


May was convicted on two charges and fined $750. He could have faced a fine of up to $50,000 and/or 12 months in jail.

AHB technical and farm services manager Stu Hutchings said May's actions had the potential to create unnecessary risks for farmers and the TB control programme.

"This prosecution sends a clear message to people not to try and take shortcuts," he said.