Ministry for Primary Industries v Down Cow Ltd [2018] NZDC 20169

Published 12 September 2019

Sentencing — cruelty to animals — calves — blunt force trauma — Erickson v Ministry for Primary Industries [2017] NZCA 271 — Animal Welfare Act 1999, s 10 — Animal Products Act 1999 — Animal Welfare Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare. The second defendant appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to two charges against him personally, and to two charges as a representative of the first defendant. He appeared in his capacity of manager and supervisor of the first defendant (his company). The charges related to the use of blunt force trauma on calves that were being slaughtered by the first defendant, a slaughterhouse that supplied pet food manufacturers. This method of stunning animals prior to slaughter is not permitted under the Animal Welfare Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare. It was also not provided for in the company's approved onsite risk management programme, as is required by the Animal Products Act 1999. Aggravating features were causing significant pain and distress, use of extreme violence, premeditation and planning, and repetitive offending. The second defendant had played a lead role in the offending, and had also abused his position of trust and had not properly trained, supervised or equipped his employees. The second defendant earned credits for his lack of prior offending and his belated guilty plea. The Court imposed a sentence of six months' community detention and 180 hours' community work. The company was fined $90,000, and the Court also imposed a five-year banning order. Judgment Date: 20 September 2018.