Sunday, May 19, 2024

Father and son farmers fined $47k over cattle registration failure

Canterbury father and son cattle farmers, Keith and Joel Townshend, have been fined $47,500 over their failure to register movements of hundreds of cattle with National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT).

Under the NAIT scheme, all cattle or deer must be fitted with a NAIT tag and registered in the NAIT system by the time the animal is 180 days old, or before the animal is moved off farm.

69-year-old Keith and his son, Joel, 39, were sentenced today under the NAIT Act in the Ashburton District Court, following successful prosecutions by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Keith Townshend run farms in the Ashburton and Banks Peninsula areas and was fined $20,000 on two charges, while Joel Townshend, who runs farms in coastal Wakanui, was fined $27,500 on three charges under the NAIT Act.

“MPI takes non-compliance with NAIT seriously. The scheme provides a critical tool in the fight against biosecurity incursions such as M.bovis or Foot and Mouth disease. Put simply, when people in charge of animals disregard their NAIT obligations they put the whole agricultural sector at risk because it affects our ability to do our job – track and trace animals,” says MPI regional manager Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance, Murray Pridham.

Inquiries into Keith Townshend’s operation found that between April and November 2022, he transported 798 cattle from Akaroa to Forks without declaring these movements to NAIT. He also failed to declare receiving 1034 cattle that were transported from Forks to Akaroa between May and October 2022. Mr Townshend had been educated on NAIT requirements in 2021.

Meanwhile, Joel Townshend took over the lease of a property at Wakanui in April 2022 and 1,154 cattle were found unregistered into the NAIT system at this farm. He also failed to register himself as the person in charge of animals (PICA).

“The NAIT tag and registration system is only as effective as the information entered in. If you are unsure about what you need to do, reach out. There is plenty of information, advice and support available,” says Murray Pridham.

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