Agent fined for starving stock
22nd Apr 10, 1:32pm
A PGG Wrightson livestock manager and auctioneer has been fined $11,000 and ordered to pay $9000 in vet and investigations costs for leaving more than 1400 sheep to starve. Stock agent Neville William Clark, 46, pleaded guilty on Monday to leaving 250 sheep, 1100 lambs and 120 in-lamb ewes on a 412ha forest block just south of Gisborne reports Stuff. Those not already dead were worm- ridden, weak and emaciated. Dozens of the animals were euthanased. Judge Adeane said Clark was a first-time offender, and there was no suggestion he was "willfully cruel for the sake of cruelty. Rather he has fallen short of good [farming] standards". An Agriculture and Forestry Ministry statement of facts presented to Gisborne District Court this week said the land could not possibly have provided enough feed for the animals. Exactly how many sheep had died was unclear, with 600 unaccounted for, believed to have died in inaccessible areas of the forest. "Numerous" sheep were found dead along tracks. Just over 300 were believed to have escaped to neighbouring properties. The rest, believed to be about 350, were rescued from the block. An autopsy on one of the euthanased sheep showed the only thing in its stomach was "the mud it had eaten in an attempt to stay alive". The statement said: "The defendant's conduct during this entire investigation has been such that he has shown little concern and empathy towards his animals". "The conduct in this case is substantially worsened by the defendant's leadership position and role as a livestock manager and stud stock auctioneer for New Zealand's largest stock and station firm, PGG Wrightson." PGG Wrightson's East Coast regional manager, Tom Mowat, confirmed that Clark still worked for the firm, but "internal measures" had been taken. He was no longer a livestock manager as a result of the court case, but had been retained as a livestock representative and auctioneer.