A VICTORIAN goat farmer has pleaded guilty to livestock offences relating to the sale of animals and a National Vendor Declaration statement.
The Echuca goat farmer pleaded guilty to four charges under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 at the Echuca Magistrates’ Court recently.
Agriculture Victoria said three charges were for breaching a control order by not informing an inspector of the sale of goats, and one charge related to making a false statement on a National Vendor Declaration form.
Agriculture Victoria program manager animal health and welfare compliance, Daniel Bode, said the reporting requirements under the control order were aimed at preventing the spread of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE), known as mad cow disease in cattle or scrapie in goats.
“TSE can be transmitted by the consumption of restricted animal material (RAM). Australia is currently free of TSE,” Mr Bode said.
‘The accused, Mark Emonson, purchased 175 goats that were suspected to have consumed RAM from a seller in Tasmania.
“The Tasmanian Government notified Agriculture Victoria and a RAM status was applied to the goats,” he said.
“Control orders aim to protect livestock export markets and ensure food safety.
“One of the conditions of the control order is an owner of ruminants, other than cattle, that have or are suspected to have consumed domestic RAM, is to provide written advice to an inspector within seven days of the ruminants being sold,” Mr Bode said.
“This advice must include the purchaser details and the National Livestock Identification System device details of each animal.”
Agriculture Victoria said on three occasions between May 2022 and August 2022, Mr Emonson sent goats with a RAM status to abattoirs, but failed to advise an inspector that he had sold goats with a RAM status.
Mr Emonson was placed on a 12-month adjourned undertaking without conviction – commonly known as a good behaviour bond — with a special condition that he pay $2,000 to the court fund.
For more information on TSE or ruminant feeding restrictions go to Agriculture Victoria’s website on animal diseases and biosecurity.