Dairy NZ’s strategy leader Jenny Jago says the well-being of animals is at the heart of every dairy farm.
It is not okay to treat any animal poorly – ever – and the vast majority of farmers care deeply about their animals. This footage is disturbing and it has been reported that a complaint has been laid. This type of appalling behaviour is absolutely not representative of the thousands of farmers that work with cows every day and are passionate about animal welfare.
Cruel and illegal practices are not in any way condoned or accepted by the dairy sector as part of dairy farming. If a farmer treats their cows badly, they shouldn’t be working in the dairy sector. It’s as simple as that.
She was responding to a video which showed a sharemilker abusing cows:
A Northland sharemilker caught on hidden cameras hitting dairy cows with a steel pipe in his milking shed had previously been the subject of a complaint to the Ministry for Primary Industries about other claims of animal abuse.
That inquiry was dropped due to a lack of evidence but the new video from the milking shed cameras has been given to the Ministry by farm animal advocacy group Farmwatch as part of a new complaint.
A month’s footage from the hidden cameras supplied to Newsroom by Farmwatch shows the sharemilker repeatedly hitting cows during milking. At times the cows were hit on the head, at other times their legs were struck with a steel pipe. . .
What makes this case worse is that a farm worker complained to MPI whose investigation found nothing amiss the first time and said they could do nothing the second.
The former worker contacted MPI again by phone to tell them about the steel pipe. They said MPI told them the case was closed and nothing more could be done without proof.
“We went through the right channels. We went to the owner first, nothing was done. We went to MPI, nothing was done. We didn’t want to leave it,” said the former worker who made the complaint.
At this point, worried for the welfare of the herd and with nowhere else to turn, the former worker contacted farm animal advocacy group, Farmwatch.
Farmwatch installed hidden cameras in the milking shed to gather proof.
Farmwatch volunteer investigator, John Darroch, said he has spent time in milking sheds in the past and knew good farming practice. He was shocked at what was caught on camera.
“I was stunned and sickened by what I saw. The level of anger towards the cows was quite disturbing to see.”
This footage has now been supplied to MPI in the hope something can be done.
“We’re willing to co-operate with MPI so that they can prosecute people based off our hidden camera footage. This includes a willingness to give formal statements to MPI and to appear in court as witnesses,” Darroch said. . .
Treating cows like this is inhumane and also stupid – cows need quiet and calm to produce milk. The sharemilker wasn’t only being cruel to the stock, his actions would have reduced milk production which would have reduced his income.
There is no excuse for cruelty to animals and MPI must learn from this case so that any complaints made in future are investigated more thoroughly.
The abuse was bad enough, that it continued after complaints were made makes it worse.