The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Animal Welfare Investigation Team welcomed the sentencing handed down in the Balclutha District Court today to a herd manager for the ill-treatment of animals.
Peter Peevers pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, which relate to two incidents lasting over an hour on a Gore dairy farm in August 2006. He was fined $4000 and ordered to pay court and solicitors costs of $380.
The defendent, with assistance from two farm labourers, was attempting to move two heifers off a calving pad. The heifers were uncooperative and Peevers became very angry and reacted by knocking both animals down with a 350cc quad bike.
Peevers used the quad bike to push one heifer at a time to the ground. Having pushed over the first he kicked her repeatedly. The heifer would not get up, so Peevers drove the quad bike over the animal several times. The defendant then left the bike parked on the heifer and went to get a tractor. Placing a chain around the heiferÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s throat and over the crown of her head Peevers attempted to pull the heifer with the tractor. The heiferÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head slipped out of the chain and she ran off.
The defendant then used the quad bike to knock the second heifer to the ground. The heifer got up and ran under an electric fence, where she got stuck. Peevers reaction was to push the heifer through the fence. After the incident it was noticed that the heiferÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nose was bleeding.
In a separate incident on the same day after another heifer had defecated on him Peevers was seen repeatedly punching her in the udder.
The matter was investigated by MAFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Animal Welfare Investigation Team and when interviewed Peevers admitted the incident and stated in his defence that he had Ã¢â‚¬Ëœlost the plotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. He admitted knocking both animals over with a quad bike and kicking one heifer in the nasal area causing her nose to bleed. He was subsequently fired for actions.
MAFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Animal Welfare Investigations Manager, Charles Cadwallader, said that this was an inexcusable case of animal cruelty.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This was a shocking unprovoked attack on two defenceless animals. I am pleased that a guilty plea was entered as there can be no defence or justification for this appalling behaviour. While MAF would have welcomed a higher fine to reflect the callous and intentional offending that occurred I am mindful of the effect that this incident had on the offender, who lost his job over this incident.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Animal Welfare Act 1999 places a duty of care on everyone who owns or is in charge of an animal to prevent pain, suffering and distress. For those who deliberately abuse the privilege of being in charge of animals then this should send a clear message; you will be caught, and made to account for your actions.Ã¢â‚¬Â