'Abhorrent': Man charged with breaking cows' tails

Last updated 11:56 25/07/2013

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A dairy farmer with "anger problems" repeatedly went around breaking cows' tails, with over 200 cows falling victim to his "abhorrent" behaviour.

Saul Jacob Beaumont, from Taranaki, appeared in the Hamilton District Court this morning on 46 charges laid by the SPCA of failing to prevent the suffering of animals.

They are seeking to have him disqualified from owning or working with animals for no less than 20 years. Prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch, who appeared on behalf of the SPCA, described the behaviour as abhorrent and asked that a pre-sentence report be ordered to try and get an insight into what led to the behaviour.

A summary of facts provided to the court shows Beaumont was working at an Opunake farm when he broke the cows' tails on numerous occasions and continued doing so despite being told by his employer to stop.

On one occasion he was seen grabbing a cow's tail halfway up with one hand and snapping it.

He was immediately told that he would receive a written warning and that if he continued the behaviour he would be fired.

That written warning was given on November 2012.

But several weeks later fresh tail breaks were noticed, and in the second week of January 2013 he was again seen breaking a cow's tail.

A vet visited the farm on January 29 and examined the entire herd of 500, finding that over 200 cows had some degree of tail damage.

Of those, 40 had broken tails and swelling and infection. A further six had broken tails with minor skin damage.

The 40 cows with the most damage had docking rings applied - but eight ended up having to have their tails amputated.

It was at that stage his employer laid a complaint with the SPCA.

In February the SPCA visited the property and Beaumont admitted that he had broken the tails of 40 cows by "twisting the tail up with one hand".

He said the cows were in distress and admitted that he had a "lot of anger problems".

Beaumont was granted bail today and told to reappear in the Hamilton District Court for sentencing in September.

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- Waikato

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