Barbara Kuriger's husband, son face first day in court for animal abuse charges

A veterinarian has told a court she was disgusted by the condition of cows owned by the husband and son of National MP Barbara Kuriger.

Louis and Tony Kuriger appeared in Palmerston North District Court on Monday on the opening day of the trial, facing 11 charges of ill-treating and failing to protect dairy cows. Barbara Kuriger attended court to support her family. 

The father and son both strongly deny the charges

"It is the first opportunity to put Tony's side of the story, so looking forward to that," Kuriger said.

The Crown alleges 54 cows, owned by the Kuriger's company Oxbow Dairies, were subjected to prolonged suffering due to chronic foot problems that weren't properly treated.

Prosecutors say 25 cows had to be put down in 2017.

"I'm just pleased we've finally got an opportunity to put all the facts in front of a judge. We refute the charges... I'm looking forward to arguing our case" Tony Kuriger said.

A vet who visited the farm told the court she was disgusted at the conditions of some of the cows.

Under cross-examination, she agreed Tony Kuriger told her the cows' injuries were caused by poor roading on the farm - which Kuriger wanted the farm's owner to fix.  

The trial is expected to last one week with 15 witnesses giving evidence.