Vernon Gledstone-Brown

Vernon Gledstone-Brown

Published on on 21 June 2021

A farmer has been fined $8,250 for keeping injured sheep alive when they should have been euthanised and failing to treat sheep suffering flystrike.

Vernon Gledstone-Brown (73) received the sentence at the Palmerston North District Court on Friday, having earlier pleaded guilty to four charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

When MPI Animal Welfare Inspectors visited Mr Gledstone-Brown’s 100-hectare sheep and cattle farm near Rangiwhaia, ManawatÅ«, on 28 February 2020, they found eight sheep suffering severe pain and distress from active flystrike.

Mr Gledstone-Brown was issued a written legal instruction to treat the sheep by the end of 29 February, which he still had not done by the time Animal Welfare Inspectors checked on 2 March.

Three of these sheep had to be euthanised. Another ewe, in poor health and found stuck in a swamp, also had to be euthanised.

MPI Animal Welfare Inspectors entered woolsheds and found two lambs with ruptures to their right Achilles tendons. Mr Gledstone-Brown told an Animal Welfare inspector the injuries had occurred accidentally about a month earlier when he was crutching them.

He said he had planned to put the lambs ‘in the freezer’ but had not done so because he was too busy and that he was concerned he and his wife might be poisoned if the lambs developed an infection of their wounds.

MPI Regional Manager Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance, Joanna Tuckwell, says most farmers do the right thing and are generally aware of their animals’ health and wellbeing.

“If animals become injured, best practice is to attend to these injuries immediately and in cases with ruptured tendons, it is best practice to euthanise. These animals were suffering for a month – which is against the law.

“Flystrike is painful and distressing for animals. It is also easily detected if animals are being monitored regularly. Animals with flystrike tend to exhibit behaviour that healthy sheep do not. There’s no excuse for this neglect, and Mr Gledstone-Brown’s care of the animals was unacceptable,” she says.

Mr Gledstone-Brown was also ordered to pay Court costs of $723.40.

If you suspect animal cruelty, report it to the MPI animal welfare complaints freephone 0800 00 83 33