Shearer disqualified for animal cruelty offences
9 December 2016
A 60 year-old Lucindale man has pleaded guilty to four animal cruelty offences relating to shearing sheep in a Neuarpurr shearing shed in 2013.
The accused, from South Australia, pleaded guilty to abusing sheep by twisting the limbs of sheep and lambs while standing on them, stomping on them and kneeing a lamb with force.
He was sentenced without conviction in the Horsham Magistrates' Court recently and given an undertaking to be of good behaviour for 12 months and ordered to pay a $500 donation to the RSPCA, with costs of $289.12 awarded against him. He was also disqualified from being the person in charge of a farm animal for a two year period.
Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Robert Suter said the charges resulted from investigations conducted by Agriculture Victoria Inspectors after receiving a complaint.
In the spring of 2013 two individuals obtained work with shearing contractors as rouseabouts in different shearing sheds across NSW, South Australia and Victoria. The individuals, fitted with cameras in sheds, documented what they described as cruel shearing practices to Australian sheep.
On 9 July 2014 simultaneous complaints were lodged with the relevant authorities in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, including an edited video package that was posted to YouTube.
Agriculture Victoria launched a full scale and detailed investigation. The investigation concluded in August 2016 resulting in seven shearers being referred for prosecution, as well as warnings to several persons identified with shearing techniques below industry standards.
The Court was told that shearing sheep is an inherently difficult and physically demanding task, however all persons have a responsibility to treat the animals under their control in a humane manner and certainly not in a cruel manner.
In sentencing, Magistrate Robinson said to the accused, "I take into account that you have no criminal history, are remorseful and are now educating other people in the industry about the proper treatment of sheep. I note that the payment of $500 is commensurate with what I would have sentenced a first time accused charged with assaulting a person".
Dr Suter said the department and the community take animal welfare seriously and this was a reminder to everyone that if offences contrary to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 are detected, they will be investigated and may result in prosecution.
Categorised under: Agriculture