More cows damage plantations in Vava’u as bill rushed to Parliament

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Cows wandering in a plantation. Photo/Mausa Lilo (Facebook)

More cows have been found damaging a plantation in Vava’u at the same time as a private bill to toughen laws controlling livestock is being rushed to Parliament

Holonga resident Mausa Lilo uploaded photos of cows wandering in his plantation on Wednesday.

He posted a photo of himself with a rifle warning farmers to control their cows or he would shoot them if he found them on his plantation again.

The most recent damage came after Kaniva News reported seven cows were shot dead while damaging a watermelon garden in ‘Utui.

Tonga Broadcasting Commission has reported that three cows belonging to a livestock farmer of Pangaimotu were shot recently after they wandered onto a tax allotment.

The private bill to control livestock will be submitted by Vava’u 16 MP ‘Akosita Lavulavu. It is intended to increase fines for those whose animals damage plantations from TP$100 and $TP200 to $4000 and $5000.

Hon. Lavulavu told Kaniva News Holonga was in her electorate and she was aware of the incident at Lilo’s plantation.

If it becomes law, the bill will require owners of animals which cause damages to pay an on the spot fine or go to court.

The bill would also give power to plantation owners to impound animals which cause damage for seven days, as long as they inform the town officer. If no one claims the animals after seven days the plantation owner can keep them.

If the owner of the animal comes forward to claim them within seven days they will have to pay TP$400 to the victims.

The bill would also make it an offence for people who owned animals such as cows, horses and pigs not to keep them in an enclosure.

Hon. Lavulavu said her bill was urgent and the Minister of Justice had urged her to work on it.

She said the bill would help to protect the animals and keep the peace in the community.

The shooting of the seven cows in ‘Utui triggered huge debates on social  media, with many people claiming this was a huge and long standing problem in Vava’u.

Some stood by the shooter while some said his actions went too far as the animals became victims because of the owners’ disregard for their safety.

One source said the cows damaged more than 1000 water melons in the ‘Utui plantation.

Fehoko Bloomfield ‘Okusitino of Kameli, who now lives in Australia, said herds of cows roamed the tax allotments and residential areas in Neiafu and Kameli, particularly in the evening and early in the morning.

Vava’u 14 MP and Minister of Health Saia Piukala said he understood this was a huge problem in his constituency.

His constituents had raised the issue with him and he asked the owners of animals to make sure they could control their animals.

He believed the problems would not be resolved soon so he advised his constituents the best thing for them to do was to put their animals into enclosures.

The main points

  • More cows have been found damaging a plantation in Vava’u at the same time as a private bill is being rushed to Parliament to toughen laws that control animals.
  • Holonga resident Mausa Lilo has uploaded photos of cows wandering in his plantation on Wednesday.
  • He posted a photo of him with a rifle warning farmers to control their cows or he would shoot them if he found them on his plantation again.
  • A private bill will be submitted by Vava’u 16 MP ‘Akosita Lavulavu. It is intended to increase fines for those whose animals damage plantations from TP$100 and $TP200 to $4000 and $5000.

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