25 Jun 2010

Inquiry into complaints of MAF intimidation

5:49 am on 25 June 2010

Agriculture Minister David Carter is to order an investigation into complaints that MAF staff have been intimidating dairy farmers in Southland during random animal welfare farm checks.

More than 20 farmers in the region have complained of inappropriate behaviour by MAF officials during inspections over the past month.

Mr Carter, first learned of the complaints on Thursday at Federated Farmers annual conference in Invercargill.

He says he does not condones any inappropriate behaviour by MAF staff and will investigate the complaints.

Mr Carter says there has been no directive within MAF to do cold-calls on farms to check animal welfare.

Federated Farmers Southland vice-president Peter Phiskie says a lot of farmers in the area have felt bullied by MAF and they want the minister to explain why they are being targeted.