A VICTORIAN sheep and cattle farmer has been fined $4000 on animal cruelty charges in the Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court.
In the Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court last month, Christopher Nelson, 57, of Warrnambool who had been running livestock on three Western District properties, pleaded guilty to nine consolidated charges, including three of aggravated cruelty to sheep.
He was fined $4000 without conviction and ordered to pay $133.86 in costs.
Nelson was also ordered to hire an independent veterinarian or qualified consultant to inspect his animals and provide a report to Agriculture Victoria on the welfare of his animals every three months for the next 18 months.
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The court heard Agriculture Victoria inspectors attended one of the producer’s properties in July 2015 after a complaint was received regarding dying sheep.
Numerous dead weaners, ewes and lambs were observed; and several sheep in a distressed and malnourished state required euthanasia.
A second complaint was received in April 2016, regarding underfed cattle at a second property where officers found 80 malnourished cows and calves, as well as four young bulls suffering complications from unsuccessful attempts at castration.
Magistrate Cynthia Toose said the photographs tendered clearly depicted the very poor condition of the animals.
“There is no doubt that they suffered immensely,” he said.
Speaking after the case, District Veterinary Officer Dr. John Gibney said people in charge of livestock had a duty of care to provide proper and sufficient feed for their livestock.
Offences of aggravated cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 can attract fines of up to $78,000 or imprisonment for up to two years.
“This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian government or the community,” Dr Gibney said.