Call to take charge of an­i­mal wel­fare

AgLife - - News -

The leader of Vic­to­ria’s peak farm­ing body has ap­pealed for the farm­ing com­mu­nity to be vig­i­lant in ‘look­ing af­ter its own back­yard’ when deal­ing with the wel­fare of an­i­mals.

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent David Jochinke said peo­ple who failed to treat their an­i­mals with re­spect ul­ti­mately hurt the in­dus­try that pro­vided them with a liveli­hood.

“Per­son­ally, I just can’t un­der­stand why this can hap­pen,” he said.

“It is some­thing we as an­i­mal cus­to­di­ans we must al­ways be aware.

“We must be in a strong po­si­tion to will­ingly iden­tify se­ri­ous is­sues in­volv­ing an­i­mal wel­fare our­selves and speak up if we see any­thing.”

Mr Jochinke was re­fer­ring to a court case in Hor­sham in­volv­ing a Lucin­dale man who pleaded guilty to four an­i­mal-cru­elty of­fences in a Neuarpurr shear­ing shed in 2013. The case was the re­sult of si­mul­ta­ne­ous com­plaints lodged with au­thor­i­ties in South Aus­tralia, New South Wales and Vic­to­ria and a video pack­age loaded onto dig­i­tal me­dia site YouTube in 2014.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria said the in­for­ma­tion and footage came from in­di­vid­u­als who had ob­tained work as roustabouts in shear­ing sheds and with cam­eras had doc­u­mented cruel shear­ing prac­tices.

The process had led to seven shear­ers be­ing re­ferred for pros­e­cu­tion across the three states and warn­ings to oth­ers iden­ti­fied as hav­ing shear­ing tech­niques be­low in­dus­try stan­dards.

Mr Jochinke said he un­der­stood han­dling an­i­mals could be tough, ex­haust­ing and frus­trat­ing, but there was no ex­cuse for mis­treat­ing an­i­mals.

“We’re say­ing to peo­ple that if you see things hap­pen­ing that aren’t right, then speak up. This af­fects not only in­di­vid­u­als but the whole in­dus­try,” he said.

“We need to take own­er­ship of this is­sue and make sure we’re on top of it. It’s ashame that in the cir­cum­stances in 2013 that some­one didn’t speak up in the shear­ing sheds and stamp it out there and then.”

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