A rural support network is urging those who are finding
managing stock difficult to seek help early and for
neighbours to raise the alarm if necessary.
SPCA Canterbury said this year it was dealing with more
incidences of animal neglect in rural areas with higher
numbers of stock involved.
It said although incidents had occurred across the whole
sector it had noticed a spike in part-time, less-experienced
farmers getting into trouble.
Rural Support mid-Canterbury chairman John Leadley said he
was aware of the recent animal neglect and cruelty cases in
the region and agreed it seemed part-time farmers - those who
ran stock but who lived and worked away from the property -
contributed to the issue.
''The problem is with the part-time farmers, they have
another job and things change very quickly.''
A property could move from being understocked to overstocked
very quickly, he said.
''The grass stops growing and then oops ...''
It could ''creep up on them'' while they were doing other
things, he said.
Rural Support South Canterbury chairman David Hewson said he
did not believe the year had been ''any better or any worse''
Despite the early snow, July had been favourable and there
was plenty of feed.
''July was a 'get out of jail free' card.''
Nonetheless, people often did not realise they needed help
and sometimes it was the neighbours who noticed first, he
Even long-time farmers could get caught out if circumstances
suddenly changed, Mr Hewson said.
Rural Support Otago co-ordinator David Mellish said he was
aware there had been a ''slight increase'' in instances of
animal neglect by farmers and farm workers in Otago.
Stress and depression were contributors, he said.
''People are stressed and depressed. They don't get specific
jobs on the farm done when they should and they need
assistance to get the farm on track.
It was important not to feel as if you were ''on your own''.
Rural support was a confidential service with the resources
and experience to put people in touch with the right kind of
help. The Rural Support Trust free telephone number is: