Ministry for Primary Industries v Brown [2018] NZDC 19286

Published 10 June 2020

Sentencing — failing to provide animals with sufficient food — failing to ensure sick animals received treatment to alleviate any unreasonable or unnecessary pain and distress — Animal Welfare Act 1999, ss 4, 10, 11, 12 & 169 — Sentencing Act 2002. The defendant appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to charges of failing to provide cattle with proper and sufficient food, and failing to ensure that sick animals received treatment. Inspectors from the Ministry for Primary Industries visited the defendant's farm, finding more than 20 dead cattle as well as other cattle that subsequently had to be euthanised. Some of the defendant's remaining cattle were very thin, the farm was poorly maintained and had very low levels of grass cover. The defendant had had health problems, but the Court observed that he was an experienced farmer and had had plenty of time to fix the problems with his farm. Given the large number of animals that had suffered for a prolonged period, the Court set the start point for fine at $8000. The defendant earned discounts for previous good character, cooperation, and guilty pleas, reducing the fine to $4500 along with court costs and vet costs. The Court also made an order limiting stock numbers allowed on the defendant's property. Judgment Date: 11 September 2018.