Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dirty and cruel

According to the Herald this morning, it looks like Crafar Farms, New Zealand's dirtiest dairy farmers, can now add animal cruelty to their list of "achievements":

New Zealand's biggest privately held dairying operation allowed dozens of calves on one of its massive farms on North Island's central plateau to slowly dehydrate to death earlier this month, triggering a MAF investigation but no prosecution, an investigation by interest.co.nz has found

This video shows dozens of calves starving and near death at Crafar Farms' Benneydale dairy farm between Tokoroa and Te Kuiti earlier this month.

Poor management and the pressures of massive debts obtained during rapid expansion meant this farm was so poorly managed that none of the staff trained the calves to drink milk, allowing them to die of dehydration in a muddy pen even though their trough was often full.

MAF was called in - "prompting an impromptu slaughtering of those calves closest to death by workers who bludgeoned them to death with hammers or slit their throats" - and is investigating, but they have described it as "just a management issue" and not worthy of prosecution. Which really makes you wonder what you have to do to get prosecuted around here, if systematically starving animals to death isn't enough? (It also makes you wonder why MAF have only five animal welfare inspectors for the whole country, and why they warn people first before turning up. You'd almost think they didn't care or something...)

Either way, I am once again glad that the Crafars are going out of business. Dirty, cruel farmers like them shouldn't be allowed to run farms.