Farmers defended in wake of 'dark side' video

A Waikato farmer has launched an impassioned defence of his fellow farmers following an expose on the "dark side of the farming industry".

TVNZ's Sunday programme aired footage showing newborn calves being thrown on to trucks, being kicked and bludgeoned, torn from their mothers and left in the hot sun for hours.

However, Walton sharemilker Aaron Robertson responded to the claims made by Farmwatch investigators, who secretly filmed the footage, that such abuse was widespread.

"Heart-wrecking right?" he said on a video he posted to his Facebook page.

But those responsible for the abuse were a minority 1 per cent that needed to get "kicked out", he said.

"I want you to hear my word on how we treat animals - it's nothing like that."

Mr Robertson admitted farmers did take calves off their mothers, but said this was done in a humane way at an appropriate time that would minimise health issues for the mother.

He said he'd had a word with one of the companies that had been identified in the Farmwatch investigation.

"We send our cows there to be pet food, but from now on… nah."

He said all he asked for was a "bit of sense".

"That's not everybody.

"Ninety-nine per cent of farmers out there work their f****** arses off."

His video has been viewed thousands of times since he posted it at the weekend and has had a largely positive response.

One viewer, Jo Leigh, said she hoped he was correct that it was only a tiny percentage of farmers mistreating their stock.

"Can't tolerate any sort of animal abuse. Keep up the good work on your property."

Jono Green claimed Farmwatch had an agenda to ban all farming practices.

"There is no doubt the footage they obtained was horrific and disgraceful and some people need to be held accountable, but to place the entire industry in the same boat is being blatantly prejudiced."

However, Adrian Adriaans said the reality was many calves were being killed within a few days of being born and "that's inherently cruel".

Joshua Anthony said killing calves, no matter how you did it, was abuse.

"I think taking a baby away from its mother and killing the poor thing is abuse, no matter how you do it."


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