SPCA New Zealand

SPCA prosecutes man for painful, failed castration of bull

18 August 2023

A man who attempted to castrate a bull without pain relief, which went horribly wrong, has been prosecuted by SPCA.

SPCA prosecutes man for painful, failed castration of bull

The defendant was sentenced on 18 August at Dannevirke District Court, after pleading guilty to a charge of castrating a cattle beast over six months without the use of pain relief. He was fined $250.

An SPCA Inspector visited the man’s Dannevirke property in December 2022, where they found a weaner Jersey bull with a grossly swollen and infected scrotum. The Inspector instructed the defendant to obtain veterinary treatment as soon as possible.

A veterinarian attended the property the following day and carried out a surgical castration. They noticed there was a single orange rubber ring around the bull’s scrotum where a previous attempt had been made 10 days earlier. The vet noted that due to the size of the animal, the rubber ring was insufficient and caused severe swelling. They said the bull would have suffered significant pain, in addition to the infection that developed as a result of the botched castration.

The vet concluded that the delay in seeking veterinary treatment would have prolonged the pain the bull was suffering and worsened the extent of infection and swelling.

When interviewed by SPCA, the defendant said that he’d grown up on farms and had worked on them most of his life. At the time, he was working part-time on a farm running dairy and beef cattle. He told the Inspector the bull was eight-months-old,and described placing a rubber ring over the animal’s testicles in order to castrate it, without administering any pain relief. A week later, he noticed the testes were swollen, but he didn’t seek veterinary treatment.

SPCA Chief Executive Robyn Kiddle says it’s extremely disappointing to see someone with claimed experience on farms treating an animal this way.

“Animals feel pain and distress, just like we do, and what this poor bull would have felt over those 10 days would have been horrendous,” says Ms Kiddle. “It is illegal to carry out such a procedure unless appropriate pain relief authorised by a veterinarian is used, and the person performing the procedure is experienced and able to recognise early signs of significant distress, injury, or ill-health in order to take prompt remedial action. The defendant failed to provide the animal with any pain relief and failed to take prompt remedial action, causing the animal to further suffer in the days that followed.”

As well as a fine, the defendant was ordered to pay a further $250 as a contribution to legal costs.

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