High profile dairy cruelty investigation leads to further conviction

Another slaughterhouse worker has finally been convicted following the 2015 dairy investigation by Farmwatch and SAFE, that horrified New Zealanders and caused controversy internationally. The man, from Down Cow Ltd, was filmed via hidden camera dragging days’ old dairy calves across a concrete floor by their legs and has been fined plus ordered to pay court costs. The conviction follows that of another worker who was caught brutally kicking, punching and throwing calves.

“Again, it has taken investigators to risk their own safety in standing up for animals and exposing cruel treatment of the most vulnerable of animals, young calves born into the dairy industry,” says SAFE campaigns director Mandy Carter. “Without Farmwatch doing their investigation, these workers could have carried on abusing animals. Although we are pleased to see Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) taking some animal welfare cruelty seriously, they are not doing anything to ensure it does not happen in the first place. How many more animals are suffering right now?”

In May, a farmer was also convicted of cruelty to a dairy calf following footage released by Farmwatch and part of SAFE’s 2016 dairy campaign. The farmer was fined for his involvement in dragging a newborn calf by her hind leg along the ground for 40 metres, as her mother followed in distress. The footage, when released, caused an uproar with the New Zealand public with concern that yet again the dairy industry has been caught out for abusing animals.

“We find that these prosecutions are often used to dodge the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry,” says Ms Carter. “Around two million calves are surplus to requirements and are killed at only a few days old every single year. Even when no laws are broken, these calves never even have a chance at life.”

Investigations by the MPI take far too long to proceed. The most recent conviction case was reported to MPI in September 2015. There is a clear conflict of interest when MPI is tasked with both promoting the interests of industry and at the same time, animal welfare. Therefore, we continue to call for a separate, independent animal welfare body.

We encourage caring people to replace dairy products with plant-based drinks and food products, which are kinder to animals, the environment and better for human health.

Take Action

  • Try dairy free! Taking calves from their mothers is unethical and cruel. 

6 June 2017