$500 penalty for untreated eye cancer
A South Gippsland dairy farmer has pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated cruelty involving a cow with an advanced eye cancer, on a property at Kongwak.
On 20 March 2014, the owner was ordered to donate $500 to the local CFA, complete a "Supervised Animal Health Program" administered by Agrifood Skills Australia and pay costs of $117.68.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) prosecutors told the Korumburra Magistrates' Court that an Ayrshire cow was found with a large tumour on its eye measuring 20cm. The eye was also affected by flystrike and secondary infection.
DEPI officers ordered the cow's destruction on humane grounds. Samples were taken and the disease was confirmed as Bovine Eye cancer.
DEPI Regional Biosecurity Manager for Gippsland Stephen Nee, said it was important for farmers to regularly check their cattle for general animal health and welfare issues, particularly for eye cancers.
"Significant penalties apply under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act," he said.
"Eye cancers can grow very quickly so it's important to check your livestock on a regular basis and act early with veterinary treatment, sale or slaughter to ensure the welfare of your animals."
"There are guidelines available from DEPI for assessing eye cancers but in general terms, any animal with an early eye cancer, that is not bleeding or discharging should go direct to the abattoirs at the owner's risk of non-payment.
"Animals with more advanced cancer should be treated appropriately and swiftly, or humanely destroyed."
Anyone who knows or suspects a disease is present in livestock must notify an inspector within the prescribed time. Owners should seek veterinary advice if in doubt or contact their local DEPI Animal Health Officer.
Information on livestock management and general guidance for livestock owners and managers is available in published Codes of Accepted Farming Practice for the Welfare of Cattle and other livestock species.