Sunday, April 14, 2024

Stock driver charged over goat cruelty

A stock truck driver has been fined $3,600 for throwing goats from his truck onto a ramp at a meat processing plant.

Wayne Raymond Patterson was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on two charges under the Animal Welfare Act, following a successful prosecution by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

On 30 May 2021, 56-year-old Mr Patterson collected the feral goats from a property near Ashburton and drove them to a meat processing plant in Wellington, after boarding the ferry in Picton.

CCTV footage confirmed witness reports of Mr Patterson unloading the goats.

“Mr Patterson totally disregarded the Codes of Welfare and Transport for 11 of these goats. Throwing nine kid goats and two adults down an unloading ramp onto a hard surface during unloading is unacceptable and there is no excuse for this abusive behaviour. Some of these animals landed on various parts of their bodies and struggled to get to their feet,” says MPI regional manager of animal welfare and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) compliance, Murray Pridham.

Other evidence of abuse included that at one point, Mr Patterson was seen dragging a dying adult goat by its legs upside down which was thrown onto the unloading ramp, landing on top of two of the kid goats. It was unable to stand up and lay on its side moving its legs and head. He was also seen dragging other adult goats which appeared dead, over the top of some of the kid goats, causing one kid goat to be pulled some distance along the ground, the court heard.

“These animals would have suffered significant distress and pain. Most people in charge of animals do the right thing and treat them with care. We’d expect today’s sentence will send a strong message to all who transport animals – there’s always witnesses, and you’ll be held accountable for your actions,” Mr Pridham says.

Mr Patterson’s excuse for his mishandling of the animals was that it had “been a shattering day and it was always going to be carnage”.

“There is simply no excuse for handling the animals this way. When we find evidence of deliberate animal mistreatment or cruelty, we will prosecute,” Mr Pridham said.

If you become aware of suspected ill-treatment, cruelty, or neglect, contact MPI’s animal welfare complaints freephone 0800 00 83 33. Alternatively, you can report an animal welfare issue online.

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