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In-calf heifer dies due to discarded plastic bag

As neighbouring New South Wales announces an ambitious plan to cut all single-use plastics by 2025, Kihikihi farmers Ross and Carol Turner are bearing the cost of a single discarded plastic bag.

On the weekend they lost an in-calf rising 2-year-old heifer. She was coming up to producing her first calf next month.

The couple found her on Saturday morning in awful pain and not eating.

The vet was called immediately and treated her but to no avail.

It was suspected she had eaten a plastic bag, which had then stuck in her digestive tract.

The Turner's farm runs alongside a stretch of State Highway 3 at Kihikihi.

“It must have been a horrible painful death for her, plus her unborn calf inside her the next day, which was all so unnecessary,” says Carol.

The couple had brought the heifer into a herd of almost 80 years of breeding.

“She was lovingly reared and nurtured as a calf and then a yearling for two years, to be a productive member of our herd this season,” says Carol.

“As well as this sad loss, she has cost money and effort to raise, and is worth $1500, plus the value of her lost calf and production.”

The Turners say rubbish that is discarded on the roadside or blows into the fence-line is all too common.

On the day their heifer died they collected a bucket of rubbish from just one 200m fence-line of one paddock. They had cleared the area just eight weeks before.

They ask that people think before turfing their rubbish out of the car window as they speed by and keep it in the car until they get home.

“You are potentially causing terrible suffering to animals, from farms to the oceans.”

— Te Awamutu Courier