Wed, 29 Jan 2014
NEW ZEALAND – There is no room for bad animal welfare in New Zealand and the bottom percentile of farmers ‘can shape up or get out’, says a Farming spokesman.
Animal welfare is an important issue and needs clear-cut standards to employment law cases.
This is the message from the Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president James Houghton who stressed the importance of whistle blowers on farmers and labourers found to be mistreating livestock.
“If you know anyone who is guilty of mistreatment of an animal or animals, you need to speak up and report them,” said Mr Houghton. “Staying silent is just as bad, effectively you are condoning their behaviour.”
In a national announcement, Mr Houghton blamed employment law on letting farmers down when it came to protecting livestock from abusive staff. This results in bad practice going unpunished.
Some employers have been ‘burnt’ by the system and would chose paying staff out rather than being let down by the legal system. Mr Houghton said this was bad for agriculture as there were no consequences.
He emphasised that most farmers are fine and it is the top and bottom 10 per cent that stand out.
He urged the bottom ten per cent to change and said that the majority of farmers are ‘doing fine’ but there is room for improvement.
His message to the bottom ten per cent was: “We don’t want you if you can’t manage the basic requirement of treating your stock with respect and care. Likewise, this goes for those who disrespect and neglect the environment.”
Mr Houghton was clear that ill-treatment of stock never made commercial sense.
“That industry bottom per cent need to be made accountable and have their heads checked,” he stressed.
“Ill-treated farm animals do not produce well or gain condition so good animal welfare is good for business, just as bad animal welfare is self-destructive.”