Dairy farmer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges
8 May 2017
A 65-year-old farmer from Kyabram has become the second farmer in less than a month to be convicted of animal cruelty charges and punished with a significant fine.
The dairy farmer was fined $35,000 in the Shepparton Magistrates Court last week (3 May) for failing to provide feed and veterinary care to his cattle.
A 76-year-old farmer from Tragowel in northern Victoria was fined $50,000 with conviction for 27 aggravated cruelty charges and three cruelty charges in the Kerang Magistrate's Court on 27 April.
"These cases show how hard Agriculture Victoria's Animal Health Officers are working to eradicate animal cruelty from Victoria's livestock industries," Chief Veterinary Officer, Charles Milne said.
The Kyabram farmer pleaded guilty to seven aggravated
cruelty charges and four cruelty charges for failing to provide cattle with
proper and sufficient feed, and for failure to provide veterinary or other
appropriate treatment to downer cows.
In court Veterinary Officer Sarah Hall said officers found the herd of 116 cattle in an emaciated condition, with a number of cattle dead or too weak to stand.
Dr Hall said the pasture available to the cattle was
insufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the herd, which included pregnant
cows and calves.
"Throughout the period of offending, cattle continued to go down through weakness and were not provided with appropriate treatment," she 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 standard.
Ms Cameron said a strong message needed to be sent to those
involved in all aspects of farming enterprises that the welfare of their
animals must be the cornerstone of their business.
During sentencing, Magistrate Stella Stuthridge said there was no doubt that the cows were in "immense pain and distress" and could not fathom how a dairy farmer of 50 years could so wholly abrogate his responsibility to the animals.
She said the accused deserved imprisonment for the
protracted period in which calves and pregnant cows were being starved.
Magistrate Stuthridge told the farmer he should have asked a neighbour to assist with euthanising cattle and, by not putting down animals, he had failed to take responsibility for them.
Media contact: Deb Banks 0447 388 193
Categorised under: Prosecution