New footage released by SAFE, shows a pit of bodies on the Northland dairy farm at the centre of last week’s bashing exposé.
SAFE believes the pit was not examined by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) when they visited the property earlier this year after allegations of animal abuse.
The open pit, filmed by Farmwatch, contained hundreds of bodies of cows and calves, some of which had had their throats cut. Rats were also seen running over the rotting bodies.
Spokesperson Hans Kriek said after receiving serious animal welfare complaints from farm workers, MPI should have examined the body pit to determine if any of the animals had been violently abused.
“If MPI had made the effort to walk around the property they would have found the bodies and been able to examine them for injuries.”
Last week, head of compliance Gary Orr said that MPI is unable to place hidden cameras on farms to gather evidence because the longest sentence for animal cruelty convictions is 5 years, rather than the 7 years needed to employ undercover surveillance.
“If current law doesn’t allow the use of hidden cameras, MPI could at least take a vet to examine the animals, interview the farm owner and workers, and examine animals dumped in the farm’s offal pit,” said Mr Kriek.
In addition to the serious questions over how and why these animals died, the bodies were within metres of a stream, posing a danger of environmental contamination. This puts the pit in breach of MPI’s and Dairy NZ’s guidelines, Northland Regional Council regulations and Fonterra’s supplier agreement.
Had MPI properly investigated the serious complaints against this cruel farmer, a lot of suffering would have been avoided and the pollution of the stream could have been stopped.
SAFE is calling for MPI to be stripped of its animal welfare responsibilities and for a fully-funded, independent Ministry of Animal Welfare to be created, as well as CCTV cameras to be placed in all dairy sheds and slaughterhouses.
Concerned people are encouraged to visit SAFE’s website safe.org.nz to take action.