Cattle farmer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges
4 May 2017
A 76-year-old farmer from Tragowel in northern Victoria has been fined $50,000 with conviction and received a five year Conditional Order for failing to feed and provide veterinary attention to his cattle.
The farmer pleaded guilty in the Kerang Magistrates Court on 27 April 2017 to 27 aggravated cruelty charges and three cruelty charges for failing to provide his cattle with proper and sufficient feed, a safe watering point and failure to provide veterinary or appropriate treatment to his cattle.
This prosecution was made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Agriculture Victoria Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Charles Milne said officers found two herds of shorthorn cattle in an emaciated condition, a number of cattle dead, some stuck in a muddy channel and a number a cattle that had died while calving.
"The paddocks had little or no pasture and the cattle were solely reliant on the farmer providing supplementary feed," Dr Milne said.
Agriculture Victoria officers euthanased a number of cattle that were down and unable to rise.
In her submission to the court, Prosecutor Courtney Cameron stated the farmer had a fundamental duty of care which he failed to exercise to an appropriate and recommended standard as the owner and person in charge of the cattle.
"Throughout the period of offending, cattle continued to get stuck in the channel and either die or go untreated after their removal, and cattle were still dying in the process of calving," Ms Cameron said.
During sentencing, Magistrate Michael King said the cruelty and suffering described in the court was 'appalling' and not consistent with loving animals.
He said the expectation was that farmers would regularly check cows who were calving, and not leave them to experience 'extreme' pain.
Magistrate King told the farmer he could have sought assistance, downsized his herd or sold some cattle.
The farmer is also subject to a five-year Control Order to monitor his farming practices.
Dr Milne said farmers have an obligation to care for animals under their control.
"Proper and sufficient feed, and a safe watering point must be provided. If animals are unwell or are having trouble calving then veterinary treatment or other appropriate attention must be given, allowing cattle to die giving birth is not acceptable," he said.
Media contact: Deb Banks 0447 388 193
Categorised under: Prosecution