A Waikato farmer has been fined $3500 after giving his cattle only half the feed they needed each day.
Alastair Robert Kane Hughes appeared in Morrinsville District Court this week to be sentenced on two animal welfare charges brought by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
He was fined $2500 for failing to adequately feed 26 cattle and $1000 for not complying with the requirements of a notice issued by MPI previously.
The fine came after a complaint from a member of the public prompted an animal welfare inspection at the 59-year-old's 4-hectare Morrinsville lifestyle property in July last year.
Brendon Mikkelsen, MPI animal welfare and NAIT compliance regional manager, said Hughes was told by the inspector to provide his cattle with "sufficient feed to meet their nutritional demands".
However, a follow-up inspection in August revealed the underfeeding was still going on, with the animals only getting around half of their daily feed requirements.
Mikkelsen said four of Hughes' cattle required urgent attention to improve their body condition.
"People in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals. The animals were Mr Hughes’ primary responsibility and he failed them," he said.
"All cases of animal abuse are unacceptable, people in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals. The cattle in Mr Hughes' care were suffering from severe malnutrition."
Along with the fines, Hughes was also ordered to pay vet costs of $1442.22.
Mikkelsen encouraged anyone who is aware of the ill-treatment or cruelty of animals to report it via MPI's animal welfare complaints line on 0800 00 83 33.