Waikato man at the centre of bobby calf abuse inquiry

Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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Waikato farmer Zach Ward has been named as the man recorded in a video clubbing bobby calves to death on a dairy operation in Chile.

The video has featured strongly on television news and last night TVNZ named Mr Ward as the man in the clip. He is now at the centre of an alleged animal abuse investigation by Chilean authorities.

It was believed Mr Ward was the production manager for Manuka at the time the video was recorded. He owned a Waikato farm and had worked for Fonterra up until 2008.

Federated Farmers Dairy vice-chairman Andrew Hoggard told the Waikato Times the actions of the man in the video showed "no compassion to animals".

"This is just my personal view, but doing that sort of thing to calves would sicken me. Sometimes you might get a calf which is deformed, or doesn't stand a chance so you have to put it down. I still feel uncomfortable having to put a rifle to its head, it's not a pleasant job but we are in the business of growing animals and making a product from them."

Manuka director Mark Townshend told TVNZ he had sympathy for Mr Ward because there was no vet available to give the animals the lethal injection required under Chile's rules.

Mr Hoggard confirmed that farmers were allowed to use blunt instruments in emergency situations when an animal was suffering. He said, however, farmers were encouraged to use a gun instead.

New Zealand farmers could legally use a blunt instrument, like a hammer or iron bar, to kill calves, however the use of blunt force was uncommon.

Mr Hoggard said he couldn't comment on whether the absence of a lethal injection warranted clubbing the calves to death. "I wasn't there, don't know what the set-up was. Can you blame it on the guy without being there on the ground? I can't really comment."

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- Waikato Times

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