Fine for illegal tagging of animals

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 08:00 29/11/2012

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Marlborough senior livestock agent Richard May, of Seddon, was convicted on two charges of illegally tagging cattle in the Blenheim District Court on Monday.

May, 66, admitted two breaches of the Biosecurity Act after he "helped out a mate" by attaching three tags belonging to other farmers to a friend's animals at the Blenheim public saleyard in October last year, the Animal Health Board said in a press release.

Board technical and farm services manager Stu Hutchings said May was fined $750 in recognition of an early guilty plea. The offences carried a fine of up to $50,000 or 12 months jail.

The false tags were used because the vendor's animals had no identification numbers, which was illegal, Dr Hutchings said.

At the time of the offence, May was self-employed with his own livestock company, Richard May Livestock Ltd.

He has since been employed by PGG Wrightson Marlborough.

A statement from PGG Wrightson yesterday said May had had his day in court and as far as the company was concerned the matter had been dealt with.

Dr Hutchings said the board investigated the illegal labelling following a report from the on-site movement control and identification officer. "The conviction . . . serves as a warning that the illegal tagging of cattle will not be tolerated," he said. "We will continue to be vigilant and will not hesitate to take action against those who fail to follow proper procedures designed to protect others."

Correct identification of livestock ensured effective disease management, which protected farmers' livelihoods and their industry's reputation overseas.

The incorrect use of Animal Health Board or radio-frequency identification RFID ear tags breached the Biosecurity and National Animal Identification and Tracing Acts, Dr Hutchings said.

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