An absentee farmer was recently fined $25,000 in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court for animal cruelty offences to his cattle herd.
Pierre Roland De Bondy pleaded guilty to seven charges, including two for cruelty and three aggravated cruelty offences. With conviction, Mr De Bondy was fined $25,000 and costs awarded in the amount of $101.25 to the department.
The Magistrate also imposed a conditional disqualification order on livestock for a period of five years.
Mr De Bondy lives at a property in Vermont South and has been operating a pastoral farming enterprise since 1999. He is the sole director and secretary of accused company Geralem Services Pty, which owns three rural properties at Flowerdale, Woodside and Mirboo.
Across these properties Mr De Bondy generally ran approximately 150 head of cattle, which were predominantly Angus cattle.
Agriculture Victoria authorised officers inspected the property in response to a report of sick and dying cattle at the Mirboo property.
Several cattle were observed in poor condition with several young cattle having to be euthanised to prevent further suffering as they were found too weak to rise or lift their heads.
On further inspection of the property, officers identified that Mr De Bondy failed to monitor the conditions of his stock.
The ‘Code of Accepted Farming Practice for the Welfare of Cattle’, clearly states livestock supervision obligations. The code describes the minimum standard of frequency and level of inspection related to the potential risks to the welfare of the cattle.
The Magistrate noted he considered a number of previous cases in reaching his decision but balanced them against the seriousness of the offending and the suffering caused.
Agriculture Victoria Animal Health and Welfare Compliance Manager Daniel Bode said people who own animals have a serious responsibility to look after them and minimise their suffering, including absentee farmers where adequate supervision is essential.
Mr Bode said apart from the obvious pain and suffering of the animals, animal welfare breaches can jeopardise Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food, which can affect all producers.
“This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian Government or the community.”
“Also, those farmers who work as absentee owners are reminded that adequate supervision is a requirement, particularly during risk times such as summer, to ensure animals have proper and sufficient feed, water and shelter.”
Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint in regard to livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Agriculture Victoria