NLIS helps nab cattle thief

Beef Central, 08/11/2011

A Barnawartha cattle producer has pleaded guilty in the Wodonga Magistrates Court to seven charges of cattle theft, plus charges associated with the illegal removal of National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) tags.

A Victorian Department of Primary Industries media statement issued today said the accused also pleaded guilty to failing to scan, record and upload movement information to the NLIS database from tagged cattle introduced to his property, and charges of falsely declaring that cattle that he had sold had been bred on his property.

Victorian DPI Prosecutor, Geoff Morsby, told the court the Department had collaborated closely with Victoria Police in an investigation of cattle reported stolen on several dates from Wodonga saleyard.

DPI used NLIS scanning equipment and NLIS database records to show the movement of stolen livestock to the cattle producer’s property. Some of the cattle reported stolen were detected on the property and subsequently returned to the saleyard.

DPI further established that the Barnawatha producer had introduced cattle from several properties without notifying the database and had illegally removed many NLIS devices from the introduced cattle. He had then resold the stock using false declarations.

Mr Morsby told the court that several cattle on the producer’s property were identified with NLIS tags and records showed they had been sold at the saleyard and later reported stolen.

Magistrate Paul Smith, in accepting a guilty plea to all charges, said the matters were very serious and as part of an aggregate order, ordered that with conviction, the accused be fined $2000, pay $900 as compensation for livestock not recovered, and to pay DPI‘s costs.

The Wodonga case followed recent convictions of a Victorian man in the Warrambool Magistrates Court and of a NSW man in the Mudgee Local Court on livestock theft related charges. In both cases, the NLIS played an important role in the prosecution’s case.

DPI Principal Animal Health Officer Ben Fahy said NLIS enabled cattle to be reliably identified and tracked from their property of birth to slaughter, protecting the reputation of Victoria's cattle industry as a supplier of 'clean' wholesome beef and dairy products.

“This case provides confidence in NLIS plus serves as a reminder to livestock owners and managers that they are required to fully comply with their requirements,” Mr Fahy said.

Information on livestock identification, scanning and related requirements is available from DPI Animal Health staff, on the DPI website or by calling DPI’s NLIS Helpline during business hours on 1800 678 779.


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