A DONALD farmer has been fined $20,000 for animal cruelty offences.
The farmer, from Miners Rest, appeared in the St Arnaud Magistrate’s Court earlier this month for offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
The man, 65, pleaded guilty to 27 charges of aggravated cruelty of cattle and four charges of failing to provide his cattle with proper and sufficient food in the Donald area.
He was also sentenced to 100 hours of community work under a community corrections order, and subjected to a court order requiring him to have independent veterinary oversight of his farm for five years.
Agriculture Victoria senior animal health officer Rebecca Keeley said inspectors under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 found multiple herds of cattle in an emaciated body condition between January and June of 2015.
“There was no available feed for the cattle and they were solely reliant on the provision of supplementary feed,” she said. “A number of cows were found down and unable to rise and were subsequently destroyed by Agriculture Victoria Inspectors.”
In her submission to the court, prosecutor Laura Krumins said the farmer had a fundamental duty of care, which he failed to exercise to appropriate or recommended standards.
During sentencing Magistrate Mark Stratmann accepted that there were drought conditions but noted that the farmer had repeated visits from animal welfare officers recommending action, but he did not take any steps that he should.
Mr Stratmann said that was was a case of extreme neglect and that there was no excuse for this offending.
Ms Keeley said the case served as a reminder that it was an offence for livestock owners to fail to provide for their welfare.
“All reasonable attempts must be made to ensure suffering and weak animals are euthanased, and proper and sufficient feed is supplied to livestock,” she said.