$3000 fine for failing to treat cow with eye cancer

Beef Central, 02/11/2011

A warning for cattle producers to remain vigilant in recognising and treating eye cancers in cattle was issued this week after a Victorian farmer was fined $3000 in the Dandenong Magistrates Court. 

The farmer from Longwarry farmer pleaded guilty to charges of failing to obtain veterinary attention or provide appropriate treatment for a dairy cow with an advanced eye cancer.

The charges, under both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Livestock Disease Control Act, involved a cow with malignant tumours (cancer) of the eye, for which appropriate care and attention was not provided.

Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Prosecutor Geoffrey Morsby told the court DPI officers had inspected the animal and saw it was affected by a large eye tumour that had been allowed to develop to an unacceptable, advanced state.

“The accused knew the cow, which was pregnant at the time, was affected by this eye disease and had failed to notify DPI as legally required or take action to alleviate or terminate its pain and suffering by providing appropriate veterinary care,” Mr Morsby said.

“He made the decision to leave the cow to calve down before disposing of her, and allowed the animal to suffer for an excessively long time.

“The accused offered the excuse that he didn’t believe the pregnant cow was suffering and deliberately decided to keep the cow until it could produce a calf.

“Test results confirmed the lesions were malignant tumours.”

The magistrate found the man guilty of three charges including one of aggravated cruelty and one charge of failing to notify the presence of disease in the cow and, without conviction, fined him $3000 as part of an aggregate order.

DPI Principal Animal Health Officer Ben Fahy said the case was another reminder to cattle owners and managers, including those with dairy cattle, that it is an offence to ignore the reporting requirements and appropriate veterinary needs of cattle with cancers of the eye.

“It is known several beef and dairy breeds of cattle are commonly seen to develop eye cancers, and owners or managers of such cattle are expected to be more vigilant in recognizing eye cancers at the earliest stage and take prompt action or seek advice from their veterinarian,” Mr Fahy said.

Information on eye cancers in cattle is readily available from DPI Animal Health staff or at


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