Son of National MP convicted of animal ill-treatment but allowed to continue farming

A court has ruled the son of a National MP will be allowed to continue farming despite ill-treatment resulting in 22 cows in his care being put down due to severe lameness. 

Tony Kuriger was sentenced on Friday in Palmerston North with his mother Taranaki- King Country MP Barbara Kuriger by his side.

Kuriger pled guilty to seven charges of ill-treatment of cows on this farm near Eketahuna 3 years ago.

In court, the Crown argued Kuriger was at fault.

"The obligation is to manage the welfare and wellbeing of the herd, despite that circumstance," lawyer Ben Vanderkolk said.

However, the Defence claims the cow's injuries were a result of the poor condition of the farm races.

Kuriger was responsible for the share-milking operation but the farm is owned by someone else.

In total, 22 cows were put down and 74 were treated for lameness.

"I pled guilty to those charges because there is the inescapable fact I was in charge of those animals when it happened," Kuriger said on Friday.

Judge Lance Rowe said the gravity of Kuriger's offender is "serious", but there were "significant mitigating factors". 

Rowe convicted Kuriger and ordered him to pay vet and expert report costs of just over $4000.

Oxbow Dairies Limited, the company which Kuriger was a director of, was also convicted of wilful ill-treatment and fined $30,000.

"The judge's comments were fair, I'm still disappointed that I asked for help for a problem and there was a lot of help that was lacking and I think there were a lot of things that could have been that would have prevented this problem," Kuriger said.

Despite the convictions, he walked away from court allowed to keep farming.