Third prosecution following SAFE exposé of slaughterhouse abuse

SAFE welcomes the sentencing today of the owner of a slaughterhouse where bobby calves were brutally beaten and abused.

Alan Cleaver owned ‘Down Cow’, a Huntly slaughterhouse which was the subject of a Farmwatch and SAFE exposé in 2015. Distressing footage obtained at the slaughterhouse showed workers kicking, punching, and dragging calves, leading to two workers’ prosecutions.

Mr Cleaver pleaded guilty to four charges under the Animal Welfare Act. Two were under Section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act (1999) of failing to meet calves' physical, health and behavioural needs by using and allowing blunt force trauma on calves. The other two charges were under the Animal Products Act (1999) of not supporting animal welfare procedures. He was today sentenced in the Hamilton District Court to six months community detention, 180 hours of community work and a fine of $90,000. He has also been banned from owning or working with animals for five years.

SAFE’s Head of Campaigns, Marianne Macdonald, says SAFE is pleased to see another person held responsible for the disgusting abuse of animals at the slaughterhouse.

“The punishments handed to the workers, and to Mr Cleaver today, send a strong message that animal abusers will face justice. However, these people would never have faced consequences if Farmwatch and SAFE hadn’t been involved to prevent the cruelty.”

Mr Cleaver’s sentencing follows that of two Down Cow workers. In July 2017, Noel Erickson was convicted of kicking and throwing calves, and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment. This was reduced on appeal to 18 months. His colleague convicted of dragging calves was fined and ordered to pay court costs. “Because of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ unwillingness to carry out their own covert animal welfare investigations, the same suffering could continue to be inflicted on animals today,” she says.

“It was left up to volunteer investigators to expose this cruelty. Since there is insufficient monitoring in New Zealand, how do we know the same brutal treatment isn’t happening at other slaughterhouses around the country?” 

“SAFE is calling on the Government to create an independent animal welfare agency, and ensure it has the funding and power required to enforce the law.” Although Down Cow closed down in May 2016, it reopened two months later under the name New Zealand Pet Food Primary Processors Ltd, with the previous owner’s wife as a 50% shareholder. The new company was put into liquidation in July 2018.

Up to two million ‘bobby’ calves are removed from their mothers within hours of birth and killed at around four days old, every year in New Zealand. They are the unwanted result of the dairy industry.
 


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20 September 2018