Monday, 20 April 2015 14:07

Farmer cleared of welfare violations

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Although a Canterbury farmer and trucking company are in the clear over animal welfare violations, that is no cause for complacency, warns Federated Farmers.

An MPI investigation into the transport of a consignment of cull dairy cows across Cook Straight has found no animal welfare breaches against either the farmer or transport company.

Federated Farmers’ Dairy chair Andrew Hoggard says there are clear messages from this high profile case, which had pictures of the cows shared on Facebook thousands of times, resulting in complaints to MPI.

“Even when stock comply with the provisions of the animal species’ and transport welfare codes of practice, there will be some people who will try to portray those stock in a bad light. For what ever reason that is, if they are going to report it to MPI, it needs to be backed up with facts.”

“People are quite free to express their opinions, but in my view the only people qualified on an animal welfare line-call are trained veterinarians. If there is a genuine concern, the farmer, industry body or local provincial presidents are available as the first port of call.”

However, Hoggard also has a word of caution for farmers. “Farmers can’t be complacent around animal welfare. Just because you don’t get prosecuted or your critics might have ulterior motives doesn’t absolve you from your responsibilities.”

“Farmers must especially exercise care when they are loading stock for transport.  They and the truckers both have responsibilities.  The code says stock must not be transported if they have any injuries, diseases, or they are behaving abnormally.  If a farmer has any doubt then they should involve a vet for advice.”

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