1 Oct 2009

Minister orders wider inspection of Crafar farms

7:11 am on 1 October 2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter has ordered a wider inspection of properties owned by the Crafar family, which operates New Zealand's largest family-run dairy business.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Foresty is still deciding whether to prosecute over animal neglect after more than 100 starving calves had to be shot on a Waikato dairy farm owned by the Crafars.

MAF says it was told about the calves on a Friday at the beginning of September but did not send an investigator until it got a second call the following Monday.

Mr Carter has already called for a full report into the incident, but on Wednesday directed animal welfare inspectors to inspect all properties owned by the family as an urgent priority.

The minister says he has spoken to Allan Crafar who is willing to co-operate fully with MAF inspectors visiting the properties.

Mr Carter says the Crafar operation is clearly facing some serious issues and it must face up to its obligations as responsible farmers.

The Crafars have been prosecuted numerous times in the past, mostly for illegally discharging dairy effluent. In the most recent case, the family was fined $90,000.

The family is currently trying to sell its 22 central North Island farms, claiming it is being hounded out of the industry by officials.

SPCA chief inspector Charles Cadwallader says has seen no remorse from Mr Crafar and would not be surprised if further cases of animal neglect are found on the Crafar farms.