A 65 year old farmer from Miners Rest, near Ballarat in Victoria, has been fined $20,000 with conviction in the St Arnaud Magistrates Court for offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
The farmer pleaded guilty to 27 charges of aggravated cruelty of cattle and four charges of failing to provide his cattle with proper and sufficient food in the Donald area in North West Victoria.
He was also sentenced to 100 hours of community work under a Community Corrections Order, and subjected to a court order requiring him to have independent veterinary oversight of his farm for five years.
Agriculture Victoria Senior Animal Health Officer Rebecca Keeley said inspectors under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 found multiple herds of cattle in an emaciated body condition between January and June of 2015.
“There was no available feed for the cattle and they were solely reliant on the provision of supplementary feed.”
“A number of cows were found down and unable to rise and were subsequently destroyed by Agriculture Victoria Inspectors,” she said.
In her submission to the court, Prosecutor Laura Krumins stated that the farmer had a fundamental duty of care which he failed to exercise to appropriate or recommended standards.
During sentencing Magistrate Stratmann accepted that there were drought conditions but noted that the farmer had repeated visits from animal welfare officers recommending action, but did not take any steps that he should.
Magistrate Stratmann further stated that is was a case of “extreme neglect” and that there was “no excuse” for this offending.
Ms Keeley said the case served as a reminder that it is an offence for livestock owners to fail to provide for their welfare.
“All reasonable attempts must be made to ensure suffering and weak animals are euthanased, and proper and sufficient feed is supplied to livestock,” she said.
Source: Agriculture Victoria