Taupō farmer fined $12,000 for starving hundreds of calves

An inspector visited the farm in May last year.
An inspector visited the farm in May last year. Photo credit: File / Getty

A farmer from Kinloch, near Taupō, has been fined $12,000 for starving and ill-treating a number of calves.

Anthony Conan Brolly, 34, was sentenced in the Taupō District Court on seven animal welfare charges brought against him by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

As well as being fined, he was also ordered to pay vet costs of $5292.20 for his failure to feed 245 calves, adequately treat and prevent parasites, and for ill-treating five calves.

The charges came after an animal welfare inspector visited Brolly's 55-hectare leased property at Tirau in May last year following a complaint from a member of the public.

The inspector found the majority of Brolly's calves in a paddock in an "emaciated condition".

One calf, which had died, was taken by the inspector for examination, with a post-mortem showing it passed away after an extended period of malnutrition. 

When an inspector returned to the property with a veterinarian a day later they found another recently deceased calf and three calves stuck in a bog at the end of the paddock.

There were also "large amounts of parasitic worms" found in a sample of calves, MPI said.

The veterinarian said the scale of the issue on Brolly's farm was of a magnitude and severity he had never seen before in his 25 years of experience.

Brendon Mikkelsen, MPI animal welfare and national animal identification and tracing (NAIT) compliance regional manager, said it was "very serious offending".

"The animals were Mr Brolly's primary responsibility and he failed them," Mikkelsen said.

"He failed to provide proper and sufficient food for a long period. He knew he should have treated the animals for parasites, but he didn't."

Mikkelsen said without the intervention of the animal welfare officers the calves stuck in the mud would have died within the following 24-48 hours.

He encouraged anyone aware of animal ill-treatment or cruelty to report to MPI's animal welfare complaints line on 0800 00 83 33.