How did it get so bad before someone acted?

A farmer faces a possible prison sentence and ban from farming after admitting his inaction caused the death of hundreds of sheep and widespread suffering.

The story says the Ministry of Primary Industries was alerted by an anonymous tip-off which means someone noticed something and did the right thing even if it was far too late for too many animals.

There’s no mention of family or neighbours and it’s possible there was no-one close.

But neglect like this doesn’t happen overnight.

Even though it’s not like it used to be in the country where everyone knew their neighbours well, farmers still usually have an idea of  what’s going on over other people’s fences.

How could the situation get so bad without someone seeing something amiss and doing something sooner?

3 Responses to How did it get so bad before someone acted?

  1. Mr E says:

    Hard to know without knowing all the details.

    Sounds like the farmer rejected a lot of support.

    For some people, reporting a neighbour to the authorities is considered a poor indictment on them. People like to be neighbourly and do everything in their power. Reporting a neighbour to the authorities can be seen as a breach of trust and can damage relationships.

    It may be in this case neighbours/visitors had to come to the conclusion that they were powerless to help this farmer and authorities were the only appropriate measure.

    It is also worth noting that a breach of animal welfare codes is not always clear cut and straight forward. I think the codes are not well understood and sometimes their application can be subjective.

    I spoke to a woman some months ago who was going to call authorities on a neighbour. After discussing the context and perspective she decided not to. It was apparent the issue as disposal of lost animals rather than welfare issues.

    The only solution I can think of is educating people regarding the welfare codes. If people understand what a clear breach is, I think they will be more willing to report.

    At the end of the day the care of companion animals and livestock is paramount.

  2. Will says:

    Poor old fella, I guess it all became too much. That’s a lot of sheep to handle on your own, especially in your seventies. Why these elderly sheep farmers cling on so long is beyond me. It is technically possible on drystock farms to just open the gates and take to your bed, but the results are never good. Maybe he figured he would give easy-care lambing a go without realising how much hands-on, detailed preparation is involved.

    Well, no doubt he’ll be hung, drawn and quartered and the rest of us will be tarred with the same brush.

  3. Will says:

    Oh God! Mixed metaphors are really becoming a problem for me.

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