Men sentenced over botched bull castration in service station carpark
A Judge has fined two men for their part in the botched castration of two bulls that lead to serious infection and one of the animals being humanely euthanised to end its suffering.
A man pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 for castrating a cattle beast that was over 6 months of age without pain relief. His co-accused pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure the animals received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered. Both men appeared at Tauranga District Court for sentencing on September 28, and the Judge revealed their sentencing decision today.
The charges relate to an incident in September 2020, after the defendant sold two bulls to the co-accused. The men had agreed the animals would be castrated prior to delivery, however, attempts to do this using standard practice had been unsuccessful. After meeting at the defendant's property, the pair made alternative arrangements to castrate the animals.
The bulls were loaded onto a trailer and driven to a service station in Paengaroa by the defendant, while the co-accused followed in another vehicle. At the service station, the defendant purchased two cable ties and some thick rubber bands and attempted to castrate the bulls in the carpark by applying the rubber bands around the testes of both animals, and then applying the cable ties over the bands in an attempt to hold them in place. He didn’t use anesthetic and later told SPCA Inspectors he had never performed a castration before. He said that he was not happy with the procedure as he was performing it, but believed that it would be successful.
“The improper way in which this procedure was carried out was inhumane and totally avoidable,” says SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen. “It never ceases to amaze me how some people don’t seem to understand that animals feel pain just like we do, and in this case, the bulls would have felt severe pain for many days after.”
With no anesthetic, these animals would have suffered immediate pain throughout the procedure and as incorrect tools were used, including rubber bands and cable ties, the animals would have felt that pain for days afterwards.”
Around six weeks later, SPCA received a call of concern about two bulls on the co-accused’s property that appeared unwell. An Inspector and veterinarian attended and said it was immediately clear the bulls were suffering from a severe infection, due to the black and red appearance of the area where the bands were placed and a putrid smell that could be sensed from some distance away.
The bulls were sedated and their testes were surgically removed. The vet who treated them said due to the incorrect method used for castration, the testes had swelled to 2-3 times their normal size and had developed severe infections including gangrene and sepsis, which would have caused undue pain and distress.
“This was a blatant disregard for the animals’ health and welfare, and the failure to minimise their suffering by seeking treatment was inexcusable,” says Ms Midgen. “There was ample opportunity to seek vet advice over those six weeks and it’s unthinkable that someone could leave an animal in that state of sickness and pain for so long.”
The co-accused told the Inspector he didn’t believe anything was wrong with the animals and that he was waiting until eight weeks after the castration attempt to see if the testes would fall off, as the defendant had told him they would. The vet provided clear post-operative care advice and told him that should any concerns arise, he should call the clinic. Subsequently, one of the bulls developed sepsis and was euthanised.
Both men were fined $3,900 each, payable to SPCA, and ordered to pay reparations of $904.95 and $300 towards SPCA’s legal fees.