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Abuse of bobby calves admitted

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/06/2016

A man who was captured on video abusing bobby calves in the Waikato has admitted animal cruelty charges.

Noel Pirika Erickson, 38, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of cruelty or ill treatment of an animal in the Huntly District Court on Thursday.

The slaughterman was charged by the Ministry for Primary Industries after video taken by animal welfare group Farmsafe which showed bobby calves being roughly handled.

He admitted abusing 115 bobby calves over a two-day period last August at slaughterhouse near Te Kauwhata.

In the film, Erickson is seen throwing, kicking and beating the calves with blunt instruments.

In one incident he failed to ensure an animal was dead before hanging it on a meat hook - he ignored it while it was in distress.

Erickson was also caught on camera lifting one calf above shoulder height before driving it head first into the concrete floor.

Judge Noel Cocurullo said the charges were very serious and remanded Erickson on bail until sentencing on July 28.

As part of his bail conditions, he must not have direct or indirect authority over any animal.

The charges carry a maximum penalty or a $100,000 fine or five years' jail.

Further charges from the same MPI investigation - against a company and an individual - are due to be heard on June 21.

These four representative charges were filed at the Huntly District Court under the Animal Welfare Act and the Animal Products Act.

"The mistreatment of animals will not be tolerated. When we get information about the mistreatment of animals, we investigate. When there is offending, people are held to account," said the ministry's Steve Gilbert.

It recently consulted on new bobby calf regulations as part of a wider look at animal welfare regulations.

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