A cow impaled on the fork of a tractor which a farmer believed to be dead was alive and fully conscious, a court has been told.
Ronald Frew, 43, of Ohakune, and farm manager Geoffrey Donald are charged with wilfully ill-treating a cow in September last year.
The Crown alleges Mr Frew was responsible for impaling the cow on the front of his tractor while it was still alive and drove about 100 metres across a paddock before being stopped by a police officer.
Sergeant Michael Craig told Taihape District Court he was driving along State Highway 49 in Waiouru on 3 September 2008 when he noticed a tractor with a front end loader and forks being driven across a farm paddock.
Mr Craig said he saw a red cow with one of the tractor forks sticking out of its body near the hip area. The animal's head was hanging down and it was clearly alive.
Mr Craig told the court he stopped and spoke to Mr Frew, who told him the cow had been shot and was dead.
But the officer says after he instructed the farmer to remove the fork from the cow, the animal stood up and walked a short distance to a herd of cows in a nearby paddock.
Moments later, Mr Donald arrived and shot the cow but then had to cut its throat to make sure it was dead, the court was told on Tuesday.
Palmerston North veterinarian Paul Wiseman rejected a defence suggestion the cow would have been unconscious from when it was shot until it was extricated from the tractor fork.