500 cows stolen from New Zealand farm

ASHBURTON, New Zealand -- In what is said to be the largest cow heist in New Zealand history, about 500 cows have been stolen from a farm in Ashburton.

The Guardian reports the family's herd contained more than 1,300 cows and that a friend of the family believes the theft could have occurred anytime between early July and late August.

“My guess is that the 500 cows have been butchered somewhere for illegal meat sales," said Federated Farmers Dairy Industry chairperson Andrew Hoggard. "Most of the stock theft we see in New Zealand is for illegal meat. My concern is how and where they could possibly be butchering this many animals hygienically.”

He also believes the cows were taken in small trucks and the thefts took place over several nights.