Hundreds of cows' tails broken

23:36, Nov 14 2012

A former West Coast dairy farmer has admitted failing to look after the health of a dairy herd where hundreds of cows were found with injured tails.

Michael Joseph Jackson, 43, admitted the charge in Christchurch District Court today and was remanded on bail for sentencing in February.

Ministry for Primary Industries prosecutor Grant Fletcher told the court the injuries would have caused the cows symptoms ranging from temporary discomfort to severe pain.

Jackson admitted failing to ensure the health and behavioural needs of the animals were met on a farm in Kowhitirangi where he was employed as a herd manager. The farm had 500 cows.

Fletcher said there was concern about his treatment of the stock in November 2010 when he was seen grabbing and twisting the tails of cows.

It was thought this treatment would cause serious pain and stress and would break the tails in some cases.


Cows were observed with broken tails a month later and Jackson was suspended from duties.

He packed up and left the farm.

An inspection then showed injuries ranging from soft tissue damage to fractured vertebrae in the tail. 

A total of 230 cows were found to have fractured or dislocated tail bones or soft tissue damage.

Fletcher said the ministry wanted a ban on Jackson having control of animals, and was likely to seek a sentence of home detention.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane said Jackson was no longer involved in dairy farming but had a job in a processing industry in Ashburton.

He would be asking that a community-based sentence and supervision be imposed.

Judge Gary MacAskill remanded Jackson on bail for sentencing on February 19, with a report on his suitability for community detention or home detention.

The Press