A Northland contract milker caught on hidden camera beating cows with a steel pipe has had five charges against him dropped after a judge ruled the footage was obtained unlawfully.
Michael Ian Luke appeared in the Whangarei District Court facing one representative charge under the Animal Welfare Act related to failing to handle dairy cows in a way that minimised the likelihood of unnecessary pain or distress.
The maximum penalty for the charge is 12 months’ imprisonment, and/or $50,000. He received a fine of $3000 plus $130 in court costs.
Judge Deidre Orchard ruled that allowing the hidden camera footage captured by animal advocacy group Farmwatch could encourage deliberate flouting of the law.