A farmer across the waters in Canterbury, New Zealand, has appeared in court following the death of “a large number” of calves.
62-year-old John Yi Jiang came before Christchurch District Court in connection with the matter on Friday, July 1st, 2022.
He was sentenced on two charges he pleaded guilty to under the Animal Welfare Act after a successful prosecution by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Furthermore, the judge ordered him to pay vet costs of $5,523. The disqualification is for two years and includes calves under the age of six months.
The court heard that the 62-year-farmer is an alternative medicine practitioner and was using lavender extracts as a health supplement for sick animals.
He told the house that it “worked well on humans” and he believed this medicine “would work with animals”.
Murray Pridham told the house:
“While lavender might have health benefits for people – these were agricultural animals, and they require specific antibiotics and veterinarian treatment to manage or prevent illness or disease which he failed to do.”
After receiving a complaint, MPI animal welfare inspectors and veterinarians examined the calves on August 31st, 2020.
They conducted tests on live animals and found many were “suffering” from rotavirus, cryptosporidium, and salmonella.
If not treated, all these illnesses include diarrhoea as a symptom and can lead to death from dehydration, the course heard.
They provided antibiotics to some of ill calves during this visit and their health “began to improve”.
Jiang had been housing just over 450 calves in pig sheds, which a contractor, who had no calf rearing experience, was caring for.
MPI Animal Welfare inspectors euthanised another 21 calves on September 1st to “end their suffering”.
Large compost area/pit
Furthermore, they also found a large compost area at the farm, which contained the remains of an unknown number of calves.
They said that “many” showed signs of having suffered diarrhoea at the time of death.
MPI concluded that at least 74 calves had died before it intervened, and Jiang told MPI that 194 other animals that arrived on the farm between late July and late August were in ‘the pit’ or compost area.
In a separate matter, the judge also ordered Jiang to pay $24,000 on three charges under the National Identification and Tracing Act 2012.
In New Zealand, the law requires people in charge of deer or cattle to tag and register their animals in the national database and report any deaths to MPI.
According to MPI, Jiang had 69 NAIT animals die, which he did not declare as the MPI requires.
Also, he failed to declare the movements of 286 NAIT animals onto his farm and failed to register 6 other animals with NAIT.
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