A SOUTH Australian livestock transporter who threw live and dead sheep off his truck into a pile has been convicted on animal cruelty charges and fine $5000 in the Horsham Magistrate’s Court.
The 51 year-old livestock transporter from Keith in South Australia last Thursday pleaded guilty to two charges of animal cruelty and received a $5000 fine with conviction.
Agriculture Victoria said the transporter faced the court in relation to animal cruelty charges for a consignment of sheep that he transported to an abattoir in western Victoria in May 2018.
During the journey a number of sheep went down in the truck and were unable to walk upon arrival at the destination. At the destination, the transporter proceeded to throw a number of sheep from the top of the unloading ramp and back of the truck and they fell from an elevated height to the ground below, Agriculture Victoria has reported.
The transporter then left live and dead sheep piled on the ground and failed to seek appropriate attention or treatment for the sheep that were still alive.
Agriculture Victoria submitted to the court that the transporter, who was in charge of the animals during their journey, including their unloading at the abattoir, had a fundamental duty of care which he failed to exercise, resulting in further suffering to the already weakened animals.
The magistrate said the seriousness of the offences led to imposing a conviction on the offender.
Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare compliance manager Daniel Bode said livestock transporters had a responsibility for the welfare of all animals under their care from the time they were loaded through to and including unloading.
“If you find livestock that are weak, ill or injured then they simply can’t travel. Any animals in distress must be handled humanely and never thrown or dropped during any stage of the transportation process.
“Seek assistance for any distressed animals the very first chance you get – and let the receiver know of any weak, ill or injured animals straight away,” he said.
“This case is a reminder that livestock transporters must exercise their duty of care – and that the mistreatment of animals during transportation will not be tolerated by the court or the community.”
Neither Agriculture Victoria nor the Horsham Magistriate’s Court would release the name of the livestock transporter.
Agriculture Victoria said animal health and welfare concerns can be reported to an animal health officer at district Agriculture Victoria offices or by calling Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or via email [email protected]
Source: Agriculture Victoria.
It’s good to see that transporters are being fined in relation to these types of incidents. However, I believe the fine amount is pitiful for the crime.
How about transporters of livestock having to complete a competency test to be working with animals? There are still a few “old school” operators around that think they can get away with this sort of behaviour and it reflects badly on our industry.
Kelly, I do agree with you. Unfortunately drivers will be, in some cases, affected by problems at home, hangovers, fatigue, drugs, truck problems, mental health problems and money problems.
The livestock has no choice in their transport and it’s an area in which pride in care of livestock should not only be a driver and organisation motivator, but an examined aspect throughout each year… “fit for the task”.