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Prison term for bobby calf abuse

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/11/2016

A Waikato slaughterman who admitted abusing more than 100 bobby calves has had his sentence of home detention replaced on appeal by a two-year prison term.

Noel Erickson's original sentence, which including 200 hours of community, was handed down in the Huntly District Court in July.

The 39-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to the abuse of 111 bobby calves at a Te Kauwhata pet food processing plant in August last year.

The charges included wilfully ill-treating a calf and representative charges of recklessly ill-treating calves, ill-treating calves and using blunt force trauma.

The maximum penalty he faced was five years' imprisonment.

The Ministry for Primary Industries lodged an appeal to the High Court and Justice Patricia Courtney's judgement quashing the sentence of home detention and community work was released on Monday.

MPI compliance operations manager Gary Orr says the ministry welcomes the decision.

He says Erickson's offending involved a significant number of calves that were treated with extreme cruelty.

MPI introduced new regulations in August governing the welfare and management of bobby calves.

"I'm very pleased to note that this season, we have seen a material improvement in the condition of calves that end up in processing facilities," Mr Orr said.

"The reality is, we're not going to see problems fixed overnight, but with continued and ongoing education and the introduction of new, strengthened regulations, we would expect fewer incidents of this nature."

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