Call to take charge of animal welfare
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.”