Castlerock Dairies & Managers Prosecuted After Horrific Abuse Of Cows In New Zealand

Castlerock Dairies Limited and two of its employees have been fined by a court after what has been described as “one of the worst examples of long-term neglect in the dairy sector.”

The close to $60,000.00 dollar decision was handed down today to the large Invercargill-based dairy corporation and the managers of two of its farms that housed more than 2,000 cows each, 41-year-old Jared Matthews and 44-year-old Dean McMillan.

The parties had previously pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

According to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the company was convicted and fined $37,500.00 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of more than $11,500.00, while Matthews and McMillan were each fined $10,000.00 and ordered to pay court costs of $130.00, in addition to being sentenced to 275 hours of community service.

The MPI first filed charges against the company and its managers in 2015 after being advised of serious animal welfare issues at the properties, including the life-altering failure to maintain the lanes used by the cows to get to the milking shed.

The MPI’s findings revealed that the lanes had been “torn to pieces by constant use and wear, in places, knee deep in thick mud and excrement.”

“The walk to the milking sheds, because of the mud and the distance from the paddocks to the sheds, would take up to three hours one way during which time the lame animals would have been in significant pain,” explained MPI Manager of Compliance Investigations, Gary Orr, who called the lameness suffered by the animals “catastrophic” and fully preventable. “The lack of work on the tracks was known to the defendants. As the animals walked long distances for milking, the lameness got worse. The tracks weren’t repaired to prevent this.”

The horrific neglect subsequently resulted in 193 cows being euthanized, and 761 requiring treatment for their injuries.

Fourteen vets were reportedly required to spend weeks on the properties tending to the animals which suffered from a variety of ailments including ingrown horns that the managers failed to get treatment for, resulting in unnecessary pain and discomfort.

The extent of the animal health issues was described as “almost beyond comprehension.”

WAN implores people to try to comprehend not only the seriousness of this tragic situation, but all of the unnecessary pain and suffering the dairy industry, in general inflicts on cows and calves who are stripped from their mothers at such an early age to supply milk and cheese for human consumption. Perhaps more people would decide to #GoVegan!

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