Mansfield Courier

Farmer convicted of animal cruelty

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A FARMER from Molka (between Euroa and Shepparton) was recently convicted and sentenced for multiple animal cruelty and aggravated cruelty charges, in the Shepparton Magistrate­s’ Court.

Following a four-day contested hearing the man was convicted and fined $50,000 plus costs to the department of $26,384.41.

The magistrate also imposed a 15-month Community Correction­s Order to perform 150 hours of unpaid community work and issued a conditiona­l order for five years requiring him to ensure the wellbeing of his livestock, to be monitored periodical­ly by Agricultur­e Victoria.

The convicted farmer was found guilty of 26 charges of aggravated cruelty relating to 26 seriously disabled sheep on his property in 2019.

In some instances sheep were stuck in mud around dams while trying to get to water and predated by crows while still alive.

The farmer was also found guilty of two additional charges of cruelty related to a flock of approximat­ely 750 sheep that did not have safe access to drinking water and suffered unreasonab­le pain and suffering as a result of the farmer failing to provide proper supervisio­n.

Agricultur­e Victoria compliance manager Daniel Bode said the sheep were not being provided with safe access to water, along with inadequate supervisio­n, “leaving our officers no alternativ­e but to euthanise numerous animals”.

The magistrate noted animal welfare must be the cornerston­e of a commercial business and drought cannot be relied upon as an excuse, as there is no excuse for what those animals endured.

The magistrate further remarked this offending led to the serious disablemen­t of animals that had to be euthanised.

He also added the sheep were left to predatory behaviour while alive, and vulnerable to the elements.

The magistrate also said the farmer has at the same time shown no remorse or acceptance of his responsibi­lity.

Mr Bode said apart from the obvious pain and suffering of the animals, animal welfare breaches can jeopardise Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsibl­e producer of food, which can affect all producers.

“This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian Government or the community,” he said.

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