Whether or not MAF finds there is a case to answer of calf cruelty on a Fonterra supplier's farm in the King Country, Fonterra must move quickly to get rid of any taint on their reputation.
The problem is not isolated. Farmgirl knows of a farm in the South Island that had been practising abhorrent standards for many years on a large scale, and had even lost thousands of calves due to neglect, ignorance and incredibly harsh, cruel conditions.
Not only does Fonterra have a need to act, but so does the farming industry in general. Hiding these cowboys when we all know what is going on and not speaking up for fear of retribution will only backfire in the long run.
For an industry to thrive on its wholesome image, it needs farmers to keep an eye out for mistreatment or any practices that could threaten their bottom line.
van der Heyden was right to call on authorities to mount a full scale inquiry into the Crafar farm but he needs to do more. Suspension (in this case there was video footage that he found alarming) as a supplier must happen if proven guilty and a check performed regularly by Fonterra to ensure they are treating their animals better.
Expanding too fast is not an excuse for poor treatment, nor is ignorance. Unfortunately it is not just the Crafars out there damaging the industry, and it's up too us all to stop it.