Waihī dairy farmers sentenced on animal welfare charges

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A Waihī dairy farm couple have been sentence on serious animal welfare charges (file photo)
Christel Yardley/Stuff

A Waihī dairy farm couple have been sentence on serious animal welfare charges (file photo)

A Waihī dairy farming couple have been fined over $7500 for serious animal welfare charges.

Gary Kester Mathers, 68, and Margaret Helen Mathers, 67, earlier pleaded guilty to seven charges which included failing to provide dairy cows with both proper and sufficient food, ill-treatment of cows and failing to comply with the direction and advice of a Ministry for Primary Industries Animal Welfare Inspector.

Gary was fined $4000 and Margaret $3500 in the Morrinsville District Court on Tuesday afternoon. The couple were also ordered to pay $3273.40 in veterinarian costs.

In July 2018, an MPI Animal Welfare Inspector visited the Mathers’ two dairy farms at Waihī and had to euthanise a cow to end its suffering.

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After receiving a formal warning, another visit by an inspector in 2019 resulted in an in-calf cow having to be euthanised.

The MPI Animal Welfare Inspector also found significant underfeeding of animals on the farm with 30 of the dairy cows requiring urgent remedial action.

More visits were made in July 2019 by a farm consultant who made welfare recommendations to the Mathers that weren’t followed, and a further visit by an animal welfare inspector discovered a cow suffering from eye cancer which also had to be euthanised.

MPI National Manager, Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance Group, Gray Harrison said the animals’ suffering could have been avoided with timely decision-making and better animal management.

“The Mathers are hands-on owner operators. They work with these animals daily and should have been aware that many of them were in poor health.

“They did not take opportunities to improve the situation despite warnings from MPI and advice from a farm consultant. If they’d acted earlier, we may have had a different outcome for these animals.

“Today’s sentence should act as a warning that people who neglect their responsibility to their animals will be investigated and held to account”.

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