Letters to the editor | February 21, 2018

CUTE AS A BUTTON: "Our Starlight, she's getting on in age but still puts up with this," writes Michelle Benson for Love Your Pet Day on Tuesday.
CUTE AS A BUTTON: "Our Starlight, she's getting on in age but still puts up with this," writes Michelle Benson for Love Your Pet Day on Tuesday.

Penalty is not enough

PEOPLE of the Ballarat region and throughout Victoria are rightly dismayed at the light sentence handed out in the case of the Miners Rest farmer who pleaded guilty to 27 charges of aggravated cruelty to cattle and four charges of failing to provide his cattle with sufficient food.

Agriculture Victoria inspectors found multiple herds of cattle in an "emaciated body condition" and several cows were put to death. The sentence – a $20,000 fine and a 100 hours of community work – does not in any way reflect the seriousness of what the magistrate condemned as "severe neglect".

Penalties for cases of cruelty and neglect are rarely imposed to the full extent of the law. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act allows for penalties up to two years in prison or $74,000 fines. At the very least, cases of serious neglect like this should lead to a lifetime ban on the offender having animals.

We urge anyone who witnesses or suspects someone of abusing an animal, to report it to authorities right away and of course we can all play a part is sparing animals from suffering by choosing to leave them off our dinner plates.

PETA offers a free vegan starter kit to anyone interested in making the switch to a kinder way of eating.

Desmond Bellamy, special projects co-ordinator, PETA Australia

Maintain junior standards

AFL Western District has come in for heavy criticism for Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and James Purcell acting on behalf of his constituents, and rightly so, for its proposed changes to junior football.

In offering up the 16+5 football model, they are effectively trying to change at least 120 years of Australian rules history. 

Our great game and the grounds that it is played on are designed to have 36 players play on them, not 32. This is essential for a junior player’s development – especially when he goes to a higher level or senior football.

As if our volunteers at clubs want to go down the path of AFL Country Football handbook rule 4.7 to appeal the changes. 

Surely 11 Hampden league clubs can’t all be wrong. A structure of 18+4 or 18+6 would be a better option and let the kids play.

Bernie Harris, The Sisters

Editor’s note: A Wimmera Mail-Times article last week discussed whether AFL Wimmera-Mallee would entertain the AFL Western District’s idea to cap the junior of players in junior football squads. 

Recognising excellence

THE Country Fire Authority has launched the Spirit of CFA Awards, which recognise the exceptional achievements of our staff and volunteers.

Nine awards aligned to CFA values will be recognised at the Spirit of CFA Awards night on Sunday, May 20. CFA staff and volunteers, stakeholders and community members could nominate individuals or brigades. This is a chance for us as an organisation to publicly acknowledge the valued and diverse operational and non-operational contributions of CFA people.

Nominations can be accepted for these nine awards, which align to CFA’s six strategic priorities: excellence in community engagement, youth award, seniors award, living the values (gold award), inclusion and fairness champion, excellence in partnership development, excellence in interagency or group co-operation; excellence in sustainability planning, and excellence in innovation.

To be eligible for the awards, nominees need to reflect CFA values and have made a significant contribution to CFA and the community within the past two years.

Criteria for the awards and the process for nomination can be found at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/spiritofcfaawards.

Nominations close at midnight on Sunday, April 8.

Steve Warrington, chief officer, Country Fire Authority

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