Tegel won't be prosecuted over welfare concerns, after dead and injured chickens filmed at one of its farms

Tegel will not be prosecuted by the Ministry for Primary Industries over dead and injured birds at one of its farms because the minimum welfare standards have been met, the ministry says.

In July, Direct Animal Action group filmed birds struggling to stand up, being trampled on, bearing open wounds and some decomposing at a Tegel farm in Helensville.

In response to the video at the time, Tegel chief executive Phil Hand said the wounds in the footage shot by Direct Animal Action were interesting.

"[We] wouldn't normally see that and I can't comment on what would have happened that day - I wasn't in the shed," Mr Hand said.

"But as with any animal, not all of them will be perfectly healthy throughout their entire life, no different to humans."

Mr Hand said the farmer goes through the shed multiple times a day to cull any birds that are unwell, as required by the code of welfare.

However, Direct Animal Action said it was appalled the company had not been sanctioned for its treatment of birds.

Spokesperson Deirdre Sims said it sets a dangerous precedent.

"These types of results definitely do encourage companies like Tegel to not take animal welfare seriously.

"They know that even if they're caught out with video footage that's undeniable then they're just going to get a slap on the wrist, if that."

MPI said its animal welfare inspectors undertook a thorough investigation following the group's complaint.

But it said 10 dead birds in one shed that housed 23,000 birds equates to 0.17 percent mortality rate, which is lower than the one percent threshold to trigger an investigation.

The ministry's compliance investigations manager Gary Orr said a daily removal of dead birds happened in the morning and it was not uncommon for birds to die during the day.

"The operator at the farm was checking the birds twice daily, which exceeds the minimum standard," Mr Orr said.

"At the end of the day we concluded that the minimum standards had been met and no breaches of the Animal Welfare Act."

When there was no breach of the Act, the ministry would give guidance to the property manager to meet the guidelines of the code of welfare, he said.

"We pointed out what their responsibilities are under the code of welfare and what the consequences are if there was a detected breach of the Act."

It has advised Tegel to be more thorough with its checks in relation to the injured birds.

Direct Animal Action group said there should be an independent compliance system set up through establishing a Ministry for Animal Welfare.

"MPI clearly have a conflict of interest - they are in charge of production as well as animal welfare and it doesn't work."

But Mr Orr said MPI is independent.

"We use veterinarians to give technical advice and they are, 90 percent of the time, not MPI employees."

He said MPI's record of prosecuting showed it was serious about animal welfare.

"We are genuinely concerned about the welfare of animals in New Zealand and it's not something we shy away from," Mr Orr said.

"We don't go in with a soft approach."

rnz.co.nz

A Tegel chicken farm in Helensville. Source: rnz.co.nz



Dates and itinerary of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's trip to New Zealand confirmed

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have confirmed that they will arrive in New Zealand late October.

The dates for the tour have been revealed to be October 28 to November 1.

The Duke and Duchess will arrive in Wellington on Sunday 28 October and will visit Abel Tasman National Park on Monday 29 October.

They will visit Auckland on Tuesday 30 October, and Rotorua on Wednesday 31 October. They will depart New Zealand on Thursday 1 November.

Further details regarding the itinerary will be released closer to their arrival.

The tour for the newlywed royal couple revolves around the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games which were created by Prince Harry and is scheduled from October 20 - 28.

The couple will also visit Fiji then Tonga.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to the news in a statement today.

The PM said she was sure there would be “excitement to show off all New Zealand has to offer” to the newly married Duchess and Duke of Sussex. Source: 1 NEWS

"It’s wonderful news that the Duke and Duchess are coming to New Zealand as part of their first major tour outside the United Kingdom. I know they will receive a very warm Kiwi welcome wherever they go.

"I hope many New Zealanders will have the opportunity to see the Duke and Duchess as they visit some of our beautiful provinces and national parks, and experience our hospitality."

Britain's Prince Harry, left and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex leave St Mary the Virgin Church after attending the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks, in Frensham, England.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the wedding of their friends Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks. Source: Associated Press


School lunch scheme for hungry Christchurch kids is revived

An initiative to feed Christchurch’s hungry school students has been revived after it closed just three weeks ago.

Fill Their Lunchbox, a 'buy-one-give-one' scheme started by Chef Ben Atkinson, was forced to shut down after becoming financially stretched, but not before donating 54,000 lunches.

Their mission has now been taken up by social enterprise Eat My Lunch, which runs a similar service in Auckland and Christchurch.

To date the company has donated close to a million lunches, now making 2,750 a day.

It’s just one of a number of businesses, charities and non-government organisations tackling the symptoms of child poverty. It’s estimated close to 25,000 Kiwi kids don’t have a reliable school lunch.

The first steps in the Government's multi-billion dollar plan aiming to slash the number of children in poverty were introduced in July.

The Government has launched a plan to tackle child poverty but firms and charities are helping pick up the slack. Source: 1 NEWS

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Concussion risk tackled as thousands of children compete in AIMS Games

With 11,000 children competing, safety is the top priority at this year's AIMS Games in Tauranga, with sporting codes tackling the risk of concussion.

It's worrying scenes like All Black Ryan Crotty’s recent knockout that the organisers of AIMS are hoping to avoid.

However, instead of wrapping kids in cotton wool, they're focusing on spotting the signs of concussion.

"Make sure that we're giving them correct messages so that they can take those forward," Aims Games Tournament Director Vicki Semple said.

Each year there are nearly 40,000 head injuries in New Zealand, around four thousand are considered mild but with a high risk of complication, with many happening to rugby players.

"Concussion itself is a growing trend more importantly we're now starting to understand what concussion is and what we can do about it," Scott Pickering of ACC said.

Stephen Kara was the Blues' doctor for ten years and he's seen dramatic changes to how head injuries are managed.

"I've had players who are running around and asking teammates what the answers because they knew i was trying to catch them, so it's been a huge shift and having the ability to come and assess someone is fantastic,” Dr Kara of Access Sports Medicine Clinic said.

He says 70 per cent of people who suffer a concussion will get better in two to four weeks, depending on their age, but recognising someone is hurt is key to a speedy recovery.

"At a community level we just need to keep it simple and if you recognise them then you remove them," Dr Kara said.

Spectators can help too, by remembering three simple steps, recognise, remove and refer if you think a concussion has occurred.

Black Fern Selica Winiata says communication helps reduce injuries.

"I believe it's so important to be able to look after yourself, but also your mates that surround you that they can look after you and step up and if they see something not quite right that they feel confident to speak up," Ms Winiata said.


One dead after fiery crash between truck and car on State Highway Two between Waihi and Tauranga

One person has died after a car and truck collided today on State Highway Two between Waihi and Tauranga, a stretch of road that is one of the country’s deadliest.

One of the vehicles appeared to be on fire after the collision at Whakamarama between Pahoia Road and Apata Station.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area with the road expected to be closed for some time.

Diversions are in place with police and emergency services are at the scene while the Serious Crash Unit is also investigating.

The victim is the fifth person to have died on the stretch of road with another 20 people estimated to have lost their lives there between 2010 and 2017.

A third of the money will be going to Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

Locals are fed up it was not more prominent in the Government's $16.9 billion land transport programme that was announced late last month.

The highway is now two generations old and is no longer fit for purpose, says Fix the Bloody Road’s Matthew Farrell. Source: Breakfast

"There are a number of people who aren’t happy for their children to be driving this road as they learn to drive, and there are a number of adults as well who are apprehensive about driving these stretches of road that aren’t really fit for purpose," Matthew Farrell of local lobby group Fix the Bloody Road told TVNZ1's Breakfast earlier this month.

"They're too narrow. They don't have an adequate shoulder, there's no median barrier, there are large sections with no Armco – ditches, banks, blind crests and summits, tight bends, you name it," he said.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS