Calves “Slaughtered Like Cattle”
A merciless attack on four calves on a farm north of Dunedin has left the farm’s owners and their stock gutted.
The attack occurred on June 19 between 10:30am and 5pm at a farm in Seacliff, roughly 30km north of Dunedin. Critic spoke to Constable Jon-Paul Tremain, who said that three calves were killed. A fourth calf was impaled by two crossbow bolts, “one lodged in its neck and one lodged through its ear”, but has since “recovered”.
Each calf was killed in a way more grisly than the last. “One animal has died as a result of a wound to its stomach or lower abdomen.” A second calf was beheaded, presumably with a hunting knife. Constable Tremain suggests that the decapitation was in preparation for carrying the animal away, but for whatever reason the killers left the carcass in the paddock.
A third calf had been butchered on site and had its meat taken – “All that was left at the scene was its internal organs”. For sensitive readers, Critic recommends simply picturing this as a plate of offal.
Constable Tremain, describing the motives of the criminals, resisted Critic’s cynical attempts to manufacture an exciting headline: “I wouldn’t describe it as a thrill kill, no. They’ve stolen meat. My first hunch tells me that they’ve gone there to pinch some beef, maybe for a 21st or a wedding or some kind of event.”
However, Constable Tremain says the use of a crossbow indicates that the criminals are “a wee bit amateurish. If someone was intent on stealing meat, and they were going out to a rural location to do it, taking a crossbow to do that job is a really ineffective tool to use to try and bring an animal down.”
Furthermore, “the animals that were targeted were dairy cows, about 10 months old, and they just don’t make good eating because there’s not much meat you can glean from them.”
“In saying that, they’ve managed to take one beast away and leave behind its offal, and they have slaughtered another one, so they’ve got some knowledge as to how to slaughter an animal.”
Ultimately, the offenders may have had dual motives: “Maybe they went there to pinch some meat, but at the same time they’ve gone there for a bit of fun. I really need to speak to the offenders to ascertain just where the crossbow fits into all of this.”
The owners of the cows have offered a $5000 reward for information that leads to the successful prosecution of the crossbowmen.
Critic speculates that the operators of local meat delivery website Meatmail.co.nz, overwhelmed by recent demand, killed the cows in a desperate attempt to fill a large order from a meat-crazed Castle Street flat.