30 May 2013

Ministry backs $40,000 animal cruelty fine

9:59 am on 30 May 2013

The Ministry for Primary Industries believes a $40,000 fine for New Zealand's largest sharemilking company over animal welfare offences was fair.

Earlier this month, Milk Pride pleaded guilty to a representative charge of animal cruelty relating to 392 cows on a farm near Taupo in 2009.

The ministry's northern compliance manager, Greg Keyes, says the fine reinforces that those responsible for animals, whether commercial operators or individuals, have a duty of care towards them and obligations under the Animal Welfare Act.

Mr Keyes says the vast majority of farmers take those obligations very seriously and cases like this are an exception.

The case went to trial as a defended hearing in May, but that ended when hundreds of charges against two of Milk Pride's directors, its general manager and a farm manager were replaced with the representative charge against the company.