Beast left to linger in harsh Waikato sun

HARRY PEARL
Last updated 10:33 09/04/2014
 Highland cattle beast
Bruce Mercer/Fairfax NZ

TOUGH LIFE: A stock agent is worried about the welfare of a Scottish Highland cattle beast which appears to have no feed or water.

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The living conditions of a highland cattle beast exposed to the blazing sun without any shelter on the outskirts of Hamilton have been labelled inhumane and cruel.

But the Waikato SPCA says it has no concerns about the animal's welfare and there is no legal requirement to provide it cover.

Hamilton stock agent Barry Cook contacted the Waikato Times about the beast, which is in a paddock near the Hamilton Kart Club on Airport Rd, because he was worried it was not properly cared for.

Cook, who has more than 40 years experience as a stock agent, said he had watched it for the past two months.

"It's standing out there with no feed and no shade - you can't tell me that's humane."

It had access to a water trough, Cook said, but it had no protection from the sun and was alone.

"I'd like to see him [the owner] standing out there with no hat on," he said.

The Times has also received a letter from Te Awamutu woman, Rosalind Morton, who expressed similar concern.

"This is blatant cruelty," she said.

Cook said he had contacted the SPCA about the animal, but was told they were aware of it and it was being adequately cared for.

Waikato SPCA executive officer Sara Elliott-Warren said because the animal was visible from the road, the SPCA received regular calls about its welfare.

But she said staff looked at it every week, it was fed twice a day and had access to water in the paddock.

"We don't have any concerns about its welfare," she said.

Elliott-Warren said there was no legal requirement to provide shelter, although it was part of the code of welfare.

"We'd like to see every single animal with some sort of shade and shelter in a paddock, but there are hundreds of thousands of animals in New Zealand that have no shelter."

Enforcing shelter for one animal would put the SPCA up against farmers all over the country, she said.

Several attempts by the Times to contact the animal's owner were unsuccessful.

Highland cattle, which originated from the Scottish Highlands and Western Isles, have thick, flowing coats and long horns. 

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- Waikato

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