Thursday, June 28, 2018

MPI looks the other way on animal abuse

We've seen plenty of examples of how MPI refuses to prosecute fishers, even when they blatantly and repeatedly break the law. But fishers aren't the only group which has captured MPI. Newsroom has a story today about a farmer who beat cows with a steel pipe. And naturally, MPI didn't want to know about it:

A Northland sharemilker caught on hidden cameras hitting dairy cows with a steel pipe in his milking shed had previously been the subject of a complaint to the Ministry for Primary Industries about other claims of animal abuse.


The farmhand and another former worker raised concerns about the abuse with the owner of the farm.

When nothing was done by the owner they raised the issue with MPI by phone. The former worker said MPI didn’t seem to understand the issues.

“She was going on about - 'On a scale of one to 10 were the cows skinny, or in good condition?'

“I said ‘Look, you’re not really listening, they’re well-fed, the abuse is physical abuse’."

When MPI did nothing, the farmhand went to Farmwatch, who installed hidden cameras and caught the abuse on video. That evidence has now been turned over to MPI. It will be interesting to see whether they act on it, or continue to make excuses for an animal abuser.

As Catriona MacLennan points out, this is another example of MPI's reluctance to act on animal welfare issues, and it is clear that they see their role as advocating for farmers rather than enforcing the law. Which suggests that we need to resolve this fundamental conflict of interest by removing responsibility for investigations and prosecutions from MPI, and placing it in the hands of a separate, specialist agency.