A WESTERN Victorian farmer has pleaded guilty in the Hamilton Magistrates Court to animal cruelty and aggravated cruelty to his sheep.
Yulecart farmer Michael Gaussen was fined $4000, without conviction and ordered to pay service costs of $148.80.
Early last year, authorised officers from Agriculture Victoria attended Mr Gaussen’s property at Yulecart in response to a complaint about the welfare of the accused’s sheep.
The officers inspected a flock of about 50 mature sheep. A number of deceased sheep were also found.
Three live sheep were identified as being severely flystruck to 20-40 percent of their bodies. Three recently deceased sheep were extensively flystruck at their time of death and it was considered these deaths had resulted from untreated flystrike.
On arriving home, Mr Gaussen yarded the sheep for further inspection. Mr Gaussen admitted he was aware of the flystruck sheep for a few weeks, but had taken no action to treat them.
Two Notices to Comply were issued requiring Mr Gaussen to treat those sheep with flystrike and to shear and or crutch the entire flock, to help remove the risk to the rest of the sheep. Mr Gaussen complied with these notices.
Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare compliance manager Daniel 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.
“If you are responsible for the care of any animal, you have a duty to provide for that animal including ensuring disease or parasites are treated appropriately,” Mr Bode said.
Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint in regard to livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or [email protected]
Source: Agriculture Victoria.