Guilty pleas in prosecution over lame cows

April 9, 2015 | By More

Court House-07Sixteen dairy cows on two Canterbury properties were so lame they had to be euthanised by being shot after checks by animal welfare inspectors and veterinarians.

The Christchurch District Court was told that 122 cows owned by Riverbrae Dairy Farm Ltd on properties at Springston and McLeans Island needed veterinary treatment, and in 40 cases the treatment was urgent.

Animals were suffering from laminitis and secondary infections. The Ministry of Primary Industries which brought the prosecution said that Riverbrae and the farm manager Clyde Barclay McIntosh had caused the animals “unnecessary suffering, unreasonable pain, and distress”.

Riverbrae and McIntosh pleaded guilty to charges of recklessly illtreating the animals and failing to alleviate unreasonable and unnecessary pain and suffering.

Judge Noel Walsh remanded the Riverbrae and 36-year-old McIntosh for sentencing on June 11.

MPI prosecutor Grant Fletcher said the Ministry would seek “a reasonably significant fine” in this case. The offending would normally attract a sentence of community work or community detention but the Ministry had taken note of the remarkable steps the defendants had taken since being charged to resolve the situation.

He said that no disqualification from owning animals was being sought because they had set up a farming management plan since the offending.

Mr Fletcher told the court: “This is the worst case of lameness seen by the MPI staff involved and one of the worst seen by veterinarians involved. The issues on the farm required considerable resources to address it.”

The MPI is seeking a court order for Riverbrae and McIntosh to pay the $11,847 veterinary costs involved.

The court was told of an inspection being made at Riverbrae’s property in Leeston Road, Springston, in May 2014. An inspector was told that a veterinarian had not attended the property to treat any of the cows for poor body condition or lameness.

A few days later another inspection was conducted on the property at Miners Road, McLeans Island, where severe lameness was also found and some cows had to be euthanised.

In total at both properties, 16 cows had to be shot, 40 needed urgent veterinary care, and 82 required treament for severe lameness.

McIntosh was interviewed and stated that lameness had occurred due to the long walking distances the cows endured walking twice daily to the milking shed – a distance of up to 12km a day for the round trip.

He said the large amount of rain experienced in the region at the time caused the races to flood, which also contributed to the lameness in the animals.

 

Category: Focus

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