Global Agriculture

Northland farmer fined $18,000 for not registering 496 cattle

24 August 2022, NZ: A Kaikohe beef farmer has been fined $18,000 for not registering 496 cattle under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.

John Emile Schepens (67) was sentenced in the Dargaville District Court (18 August 2022) on 2 charges under the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act 2012, following a successful prosecution by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The scheme, which maintains a national database of cattle and deer movements, is a critical part of New Zealand’s ability to respond quickly to biosecurity threats, says MPI regional manager Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance, Brendon Mikkelsen.

“We take non-compliance seriously because of the potentially devastating effect to industry and communities, if the tracing and containment of a significant outbreak such as Foot and Mouth Disease was hampered by poor NAIT information. Mr Schepens failed to put into place a system to ensure his animals were both tagged and registered with NAIT. We cannot afford complacency,” he says.

Mr Schepens has been the registered person in charge of animals (PICA) for a decade. He has about 800 NAIT animals. Over a period between May 2019 and May 2021, he received educational letters, reminders, and an infringement notice for moving 32 unregistered cattle off farm. Despite the warnings and action, the situation didn’t improve.

MPI charged Mr Schepens under the NAIT ACT for moving 27 cattle off farm between 30 June and 3 July 2021 and for a further 469 cattle still not registered on 10 February, 2022.

“If you are unsure about what you need to do, reach out. There is plenty of information, advice and support available,” says Brendon Mikkelsen.

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