Tuesday, 10 July 2018 13:38

‘Dairy industry fears the truth’

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Farmwatch released footage of a Northland sharemilker beating a cow with a steel pipe last month. Farmwatch released footage of a Northland sharemilker beating a cow with a steel pipe last month.

Many dairy farm workers and people in rural communities are too scared to go to MPI or speak out about animal cruelty for fear of being blacklisted in the industry or ostracised by their rural community.

Farmwatch released footage of a Northland sharemilker beating a cow with a steel pipe last month. Farmers on social media were outraged and he has since been stood down.

That’s the view of John Darroch of Farmwatch which filmed the cows being beaten with a steel rod on a Northland dairy farm. He also photographed dead cows dumped in a gully on the same farm.

He told Dairy News that every time they publicise abuse in the dairy industry people contact them saying they know of similar cases or of an even greater problem on the farm depicted.

“Because we are a small group of volunteers and don’t have a huge capacity to investigate, we tell them to talk to MPI which is responsible for investigating such incidents. 

“But we know that most of the people won’t go to MPI because they are scared of raising their hand; they fear facing consequences from the dairy industry and/or other farmers if they go to officials about animal abuse.”

Because these people normally live in rural areas and work on dairy or other farms they are scared they will be blacklisted or targeted, Darroch says. 

Whistleblowers often give Farmwatch only scant information and above all they want to remain anonymous.

He says they learned of the abuse in Northland from a social media photo of a cow with a swear word on it. This photo, widely shared, was seen by Farmwatch. Some people saw the photo as quite funny, he says.

“But we thought it pointed to deeper cultural issues in the industry and showed disrespect for animals and that turned out to be correct. People eventually contacted us about the farm and we advised them to go to MPI,” Darroch says.


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