12 Oct 2009

MAF investigations of Crafar farms 'over-reaction'

8:13 am on 12 October 2009

A spokesperson for the Crafar farming family describes an investigation into animal welfare problems at their properties as a beat up.

The investigation was ordered by the Minister of Agriculture after 100 sick calves had to be shot on a Benneydale property owned by the family business last month.

MAF says seven of the 22 properties were found to have welfare issues including underweight animals, inadequate feed and overstocking, which it blamed on poor farm management.

However, a family spokesperson does not accept his farms had problems.

Allan Crafar says the farms did not have problems with feed and although the Ministry ordered 50 of the 20,000 animals to be put down, he thinks the number should have been lower.

He says the investigation was an overreaction by inexperienced people.

He says a lot of other farms would have been in a similar position at this time of year and he does not accept that there was a lack of feed available for the animals.

Mr Crafar says the number of animals that the Ministry ordered to be culled could have been a lot lower.

The family was recently fined $90,000 for 34 charges brought by Waikato Regional Council relating to illegal discharge of effluent on dairy farms.

Mr Crafar says he will appeal against that decision, and has set up a fund to do so.