Friday, December 1, 2023

Pukekohe deer farmer fined for NAIT breach

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Failure to tag 278 animals nets $12,000 fine.
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A Pukekohe deer farmer has been fined $12,000 for not tagging 278 animals under the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme.

 Under the NAIT scheme all cattle and deer must be fitted with a tag and registered in the NAIT system by the time the animal is 180 days old, or before it is moved off farm.

Lester Harrison Nixon was sentenced in the Papakura District Court on two charges under the NAIT Act, following a successful prosecution by the Ministry for Primary Industries. He has three properties registered in the NAIT database.

 “NAIT tags are there to track and trace animals. They play a critical role in helping to ensure we can respond quickly and accurately in the event of a biosecurity incursion. When people in charge of animals disregard their NAIT obligations they put the whole agricultural sector at risk,” MPI acting national manager animal welfare and NAIT compliance Brendon Mikkelsen said.

The MPI made inquiries with Nixon about outstanding animal movements on his NAIT account in 2021.

“We found Mr Nixon had made little effort to comply with the NAIT system, advising us that he does not tag his deer until just before they’re transported. He said he does not register the tags and that he had farmed for over 30 years without it [NAIT],” Mikkelsen said.

During a search of one of his properties where he had NAIT animals grazing, the MPI found 132 deer not fitted with a NAIT tag and at another of Nixon’s properties a further 146 deer were also not fitted with tags.

In 2019, penalties in the NAIT Act increased tenfold to a maximum of $100,000 for an individual, and up to $200,000 for a body corporate. 

Mikkelsen said while receiving one of these penalties could hurt the bottom line for people in charge of animals, the inability to trace animals can have far-reaching and serious consequences for everyone.

“The NAIT tag and registration system is only as effective as the information entered in. If you are unsure about what you need to do, reach out. There is plenty of information, advice and support available,” Mikkelsen said.

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