26 May 2010

Prison sentence for poultry farmer

4:23 pm on 26 May 2010

A Papakura poultry and egg farmer is going to prison for a year and is banned from owning hens for 10 years, after pleading guilty to animal welfare and food safety charges.

Gerard Francis van den Bogaart appeared in the Papakura District Court on Tuesday on charges of wilful ill-treatment of hens and unlawful slaughter of poultry.

More than 1000 birds were put down and thousands more were relocated to other facilities after a raid of his two properties in 2008. In addition, 100,000 eggs were seized.

The Food Safety Authority says the birds were kept in filthy, inhumane conditions, putting consumers at risk of harmful bacteria.

Both the Poultry Industry and Egg Producers Associations support the penalty.

Joint director Michael Brooks says Mr van den Bogaart's standards were well below those acceptable to most farmers.