'Hip clamp' cow farmer conviction

The news of the conviction of a dairy farmer who was recently fined $500 and ordered to pay $500 costs following the now infamous case of the mistreatment of a cow filmed suspended from a 'hip clamp' in 2015, sends a message that cruel treatment will not be tolerated.

The hip clamp footage was posted on our Facebook page and went viral. It has since been viewed over 22 million times, sparking outrage and vigorous debate internationally. This is the fifth prosecution to result from footage filmed by Farmwatch volunteer investigators.

While these convictions are a step in the right direction, there is still a lot more that needs to be done to prevent cruelty happening in the first place. Farmwatch spokesperson John Darroch says, "We are pleased to see the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) taking these cruelty cases seriously. However, prosecutions only go so far and act as a minimal deterrent. More time, effort and funds need to be put into preventing cruelty to vulnerable animals in the first place."

MPI has been woefully underfunded by the previous government with far too few inspectors (around twelve) to cover the geographically challenging locations of many of NZ's farms. There should be more funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and a separate unit tasked with animal welfare.

"There is a clear conflict of interest when the same ministry department is tasked with both promoting the interests of industry and at the same time, animal welfare," says SAFE campaigns director Mandy Carter.

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27 February 2018