Horror at 'angry' farmhand who broke 40 cows' tails

Last updated 05:00 26/07/2013

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The SPCA is calling for a 20-year ban from working with animals for a dairy farmer who admitted "abhorrent" attacks on over 200 cows.

Saul Jacob Beaumont, 23, appeared in the Hamilton District Court yesterday on 46 charges laid by the SPCA of failing to prevent the suffering of animals.

Court documents show Beaumont was living in Okato, Taranaki, and working at an Opunake farm when he began breaking the cows' tails and continued doing so despite being told by his employer to stop.

He was immediately told that he would receive a written warning and if the behaviour continued, he would be fired. That warning was given on November 2012 but several weeks later fresh tail breaks were noticed and he was again seen breaking a cow's tail.

A vet visited the farm and found 200 of the herd of 500 had some tail damage, with 40 having broken tails, swelling and infection. Eight had their tails amputated, the others docked. Six others had broken tails with minor skin damage.

Beaumont admitted to an SPCA officer 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 "anger problems".

Now the SPCA is calling for Beaumont to be disqualified from owning or working with animals for "no less than 20 years".

In court, SPCA lawyer Fletcher Pilditch 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.

Waikato Dairy chairman Chris Lewis said it was good to see the farm owner had acted promptly and informed the SPCA.

"As a farmer it saddens me to hear these animal welfare charges because it goes against the very nature of a person working with animals," he said.

"Identifying any situation of animal cruelty early is the key to preventing cases like this. Employers need to have their eye on the ball and make it clear they don't tolerate this type of behaviour, as what happened here."

Veterinary Association dairy cattle society president, Neil MacPherson, applauded the SPCA for taking the matter to court and supported the call to ban Beaumont from working with animals.

Beaumont was yesterday granted bail to a Waihi house. He will be sentenced in September. 

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- Waikato Times

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