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Source: Ministry for Primary Industries


Media contact: MPI media team

A dairy farmer has been fined $3,250 for unlawfully performing a significant surgical procedure, amputating the teats of 7 cows using rubber rings as a tourniquet.

Pieter Nicholaas Smit, 60, was sentenced at the Morrinsville District Court for one representative animal welfare charge, after earlier pleading guilty. The case was brought to court by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI Animal Welfare and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) regional compliance manager, Brendon Mikkelsen, says Mr Smit failed to provide appropriate care to the animals.

“Teat removal is a significant surgical procedure. It should be undertaken by a veterinarian using anaesthesia.”

An animal welfare inspector visited Mr Smit’s property at Waiuku on 20 May 2020, after a complaint was made.

He admitted to using the rubber rings on the cows when mastitis did not clear up after treatment with antibiotics. The offending occurred over a 5-year period.

Teat removal is not a treatment for mastitis, and the practice is opposed by experienced veterinarians.

“In New Zealand, everyone must take responsibility for animal welfare. We strongly encourage any member of the public who is aware of ill-treatment or cruelty to report it to the MPI animal welfare complaints freephone 0800 00 83 33.”