Waikato farmer fined $35,000 over failure to treat flystrike in sheep

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05 March 2022, UK: A sheep and beef farmer has been fined $35,000 for a range of charges related to failure to care for his sheep.

Warren Michael George Koberstein (73) of Mangakino was previously convicted for failing to treat about 100 sheep with flystrike, and for the reckless ill treatment of 8 other sheep that died as a result of flystrike.

Flystrike is a serious condition where maggots feed on the surface of the sheep’s skin and can cause considerable pain and suffering.

Mr Koberstein was sentenced at Tokoroa District Court this week, following an MPI investigation and prosecution.

MPI national manager animal welfare and NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) compliance Gray Harrison says flystrike is avoidable through adopting preventative measures, regular monitoring, and prompt treatment of any affected sheep.

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“The extent of the problem must have been obvious to this experienced farmer – an observation that was also made by Judge Mackenzie during sentencing.

“These animals suffered unnecessarily as a result of the farmer failing to ensure their simple needs were met.”

Mr Harrison says Mr Koberstein was aware of flystrike in his lambs, having taken some steps to prevent flystrike from occurring in his lambs through the late spring/early summer of 2017/2018.

But when animal welfare inspectors assessed Mr Koberstein’s farm on 21 February 2018, fly-strike problems were found in about 100 lambs.

“During the inspection, animal welfare inspectors found dead lambs in paddocks and at least 8 of the more recent carcasses were of sheep that had died after suffering from severe untreated fly-strike.

“Mr Koberstein would have been aware of the risks of leaving fly-strike untreated and that failing to rapidly treat an affected animal would cause pain and distress as well as a significant risk of death.”

MPI encourages anyone with concerns about animal welfare to contact the confidential hotline: 0800 00 83 33

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