Friday, 13 November 2020 10:12

Farmers care about animals, says vet

Written by  Peter Burke
Richard Hilson. Richard Hilson.

A leading veterinarian says in his opinion farmers are doing a better job now than ever in regards to animal welfare.

Richard Hilson is the managing director of Vet Services Hawke’s Bay, which has a staff of 120 people including about three dozen vets. Hilson says he gets frustrated when he sees a lot of publicity given to people who treat animals badly. He says the reality is that these few individuals unfairly give farming a bad name.

In recent months there have been several high profile cases of animals being mistreated and people being prosecuted for failing to adequately feed cows to killing a lamb. 

Hilson says there is a greater awareness about animal welfare and often people who harm animals find that others who know them report them to the authorities. Hilson says these days, people realise that it’s not okay to mistreat animals.

“When you look back at some of the things we did 10 or 20 years ago we are not doing them now,” he told Dairy News.

“We are doing a better job. We are more humane and much more conscious of animal welfare. It just seems that the cases reported get a high profile in the media. I think it would be quite nice for every story that some fellow got potted, quite rightly so for welfare, to see 100 stories about farmers doing a good job,” he says.

Hilson points to the greater awareness of animals suffering from pain and that has been considered with the greater use of painkillers when treating them. He says welfare standards have lifted and that farmers have done this because they accept the science and the need to do the best for their valuable stock.

“Very few people beat their cows or break their tails these days. It is true that sometimes people get angry and do things they immediately regret,” he says.

Hilson says he and his staff spend a lot of time with farmers and says the issue of animal welfare is seldom raised because he says there is simply no need to because farmers get the issue. He says in his experience the thing that upsets farmers the most is the misreporting of their industry.

“Farmers feel so beaten up new regulations, health and safety and a raft of other issues that they feel isolated,” he says.

More like this

Why are animals mistreated?

There's been a spike in recent weeks of people appearing before the courts on charges of mistreating farm animals. 

Featured

New investment in spirulina production

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Food & Fibres Futures Fund will invest in a project to assess the viability of larger scale production of spirulina in New Zealand.

 

Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

National

Miraka picks up awards

Taupo-based Maori dairy company Miraka took the top honours at this year’s Biosecurity Awards.

Wyeth ready for new challenge

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth says he’s looking forward to the challenge of running the…

Machinery & Products

Mixer makes feeding easy

Coolbreene Trust near Taupo is a large-scale dairy operation farming 1150ha, including run-off blocks, within a 10km radius of its…

More colour to light range

Originally available with amber lenses only, Narva’s ‘Geomax’ Heavy Duty LED Strobe Beacon light range has been upgraded with the…

State funding for recycling

Having declared in July that all farm plastics sold in New Zealand will have to be recycled or reused, the…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Avoiding listeria

OPINION: The company that makes dairy products under “The Collective” brand, and which copped a nearly $500,000 fine for failing…

Greenpeace seeing red

OPINION: Still with Greenpeace, the organisation’s push for a price on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is gaining momentum since the…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter