News Blog Articles Fonterra and DairyNZ called to protect whistleblowers

Fonterra and DairyNZ called to protect whistleblowers

July 4th, 2018

Fonterra and DairyNZ have today been contacted by SAFE asking them to urgently put in place a protection scheme for farm cruelty whistleblowers.

A whistleblower protection programme would encourage people to come forward with legitimate complaints of cruelty and law-breaking, and make it easy for them to do so. We stressed the need for this programme to also offer protection of informant confidentiality and provide support for workers to find another job if required.

Last week, disturbing footage of animal abuse on a Northland dairy farm was released. It emerged that farm workers had reported the bashing of cows by a contract milker to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) previously, but the complaints were not taken seriously. Whistleblowers were left with no option but to contact Farmwatch to obtain the video evidence required by MPI  to pursue a prosecution.

“There appears to be a culture of silence in many farming communities, with people reluctant to come forward to report cruelty they’ve witnessed for fear of retribution,” says SAFE spokesperson Hans Kriek. “If the public is going to have any confidence that this type of abuse is not widespread, the dairy industry urgently needs to get its house in order by providing support and protection for those brave enough to speak out on behalf of animals.”

Since the cow bashing exposé last week, we have received numerous messages from workers in the farming industry, who have seen instances of abuse and prior to now, felt unable to do anything. These people are all being followed up, and where the informants are willing to proceed, the information is being passed on to MPI.

“Some of the information forwarded details cruelty even more extreme than the cow beating exposed at the Northland farm. We’ve also received reports of bullying of young farm workers and others who have had to leave their jobs because they were so sickened by the brutality they saw inflicted on animals.”

It is of the utmost urgency that a witness protection scheme is put into place and widely advertised in farming communities.

In addition, we are calling on Government to create a fully resourced, stand-alone regulatory and enforcement agency (a Commission) that places CCTV cameras in all dairy sheds and slaughterhouses.


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  • Call on our Government to create a fully resourced Commission for Animal Welfare.
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