A Coromandel farm owner and property developer, and his farm worker, have been convicted of deliberately breaching a Court imposed Disqualification Order under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Phillip Peacock, was yesterday sentenced in the Hamilton District Court, to 300 hours community work and disqualified from being the owner of, or exercising authority over farm animals for three years. He was also ordered to pay solicitors costs totalling $904.00.
In June this year farm owner Lance Burt was sentenced to six months' home detention and 100 hours community work.
MAF Investigations Manager Greg Reid says the two defendants actively conspired to disguise the fact that Mr Peacock was acting in contravention of a disqualification from owning or having custody or control of animals that was imposed in 2006.
"As a consequence of Mr Peacock being in charge of animals, further and ongoing mistreatment of cattle in his care occurred."
"Mr Peacock knowingly flouted a court order and actively carried on farming in breach of the disqualification. Not only did his employer permit him to do so, despite becoming aware of the disqualification order, Mr Burt adopted various tactics to draw attention from the fact that Mr Peacock was exercising authority over animals. These tactics included the re writing and replacement of Mr Peacock's initial employment contract and the issuing of a trespass notice to the farm worker who had informed MAF of the situation".
In 2006, Mr Peacock was prosecuted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) for the ill treatment of cattle. He pleaded guilty to 56 charges under the Animal Welfare Act and was disqualified from owning or exercising authority over all animals for five years.
In July 2008, Mr Peacock was employed by Coromandel Dairy Trust Limited Director Lance Burt. During his employment Mr Peacock carried out various farm duties including moving and feeding stock, calving of cows and the supervision and instruction of farm staff on a daily basis.
Within a month of his appointment he was moved into a management role and during this time staff queried his farming decisions on several occasions. These decisions related to his failure to attend to 'downed' cows which later died, and the deaths of cows as a result of them being inappropriately calved with a farm tractor.
One of the workers on the property subsequently became aware that Mr Peacock may have been disqualified from owning or exercising authority over animals and contacted MAF.
The Animal Welfare Act contains provisions that permit the disqualification of people who have breached the Act from owning or having the custody of or control of animals. Greg Reid confirms that the intention of these provisions is to put a stop to further mistreatment of animals and to deter further offending by the disqualified person.
"Both defendants have learned that disqualifications will be enforced by the Ministry. Flouting the law and poor animal husbandry are unacceptable and will always be treated seriously by MAF".