Russell Murray Berghuis

Russell Murray Berghuis

Published on on 26/07/2021

Press Release: Ministry For Primary Industries

A lifestyle block owner has been fined $6,000 and ordered to pay $700 in veterinarian costs for starving five cattle, and for failing to adequately treat and prevent parasites in two calves.

Russell Murray Berghuis, 65, was found guilty of five charges under Animal Welfare Act and sentenced in the Whakatane District Court on Friday (23 July) after the case was brought to court by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Mr Berghuis also received a partial disqualification, prohibiting him from owning or having on his property any more than 14 cows, calves or cattle or any combination.

At the time of the offending, Berghuis’ small Whakatane lifestyle block was overstocked, with 31 beef cattle on seven hectares of land.

MPI Regional Manager Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance, Brendon Mikkelsen, says this is serious offending.

“The animals were Mr Berghuis’ responsibility. He failed to provide proper and sufficient feed to his cattle, and failed to provide treatment that alleviated unreasonable distress being suffered by the two calves.”

After animal welfare inspectors visited Mr Berghuis’ property in July 2019, following a complaint about emaciated cattle. As a result of the inspection, animals in poor condition were moved to another grazing block with more feed available.

In New Zealand, everyone must take responsibility for animal welfare. We strongly encourage people who are aware of animal ill-treatment or cruelty regarding farm animals to report it to the MPI Animal Welfare Complaints freephone: 0800 00 83 33.