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Calf bashing man paid thousands in bonuses

Published: 6:29PM Wednesday February 05, 2014 Source: ONE News

Kiwi dairy company Manuka paid the man caught on camera beating a calf to death more than $130,000 after the video emerged.

Waikato man Zach Ward worked for a Manuka-owned farm in Chile, but left after an investigation found he was breaching animal welfare regulations.

In Chile farms are required to euthanise calves with a lethal injection.

After the video of Mr Ward bludgeoning the calf surfaced, Manuka released a statement saying it was appalled by his actions.

But ONE News has discovered that the company privately paid Mr Ward more than $130,000 after tax in bonuses after his actions were exposed.

A copy of the exit agreement between Mr Ward and the Chile branch of Manuka, signed after he was dismissed for beating calves, shows he was paid in appreciation for services he offered to the company.

Among payments he received was a bonus of more than $70,000, a voluntary payment of $38,000 and more than $5000 for airfares.

Manuka executives have declined to answer questions about the apparent discrepancy between their public stance on animal cruelty and their private actions.

More than 60 Manuka shareholders have also not responded to requests for comment.

A clause in the settlement prevents Mr Ward from talking about the company.

Labour's animal welfare spokesman Trevor Mallard says the incident is damaging to New Zealand's reputation.

"The message it sends offshore is that New Zealand doesn't care about animal welfare and that we pay extra to people who do it," he says.

"The people behind Manuka, who are leaders in Fonterra and who are prominent New Zealand farmers, should individually make apologies."

The video has sparked debate over how calves are treated in New Zealand.