Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

WA sheep farmer hit with $40,000-plus in fines and costs

Sheep Central, February 26, 2024









A WESTERN Australian sheep farmer has been hit with a fine and legal costs exceeding $40,000 after pleading guilty to four counts of animal cruelty, in the Narrogin Magistrates Court last week.

The 86 year-old farmer was fined $34,000 (suspended for 12 months) and ordered to pay $7500 in legal costs.

The magistrate noted a relatively long suspension period was required to ensure the offender understood the seriousness of the offence and future compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development undertook an investigation in 2021 in response to reports of poor animal welfare on the property.

Inspectors found about 60 recently deceased and dying sheep that were in a severely emaciated condition. Live sheep were weak and minimally responsive to stimuli. Laboratory analysis determined that the sheep were suffering from starvation.

DPIRD director regional compliance Noel Chambers said livestock producers had an obligation to ensure proper and humane care and management of stock in all circumstances.

“While the department appreciates the challenges producers face, it is unacceptable to allow sheep to starve to death,” he said.

“Options can include feeding at the minimum requirements, finding agistment, destocking or as a last resort, humane euthanasia.”

Anyone with information about the ill-treatment of animals should contact the RSPCA on 1300 278 358.


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  1. Gordon Serone, February 29, 2024

    Whilst I recognise that the needs of the sheep, I am also concerned for the welfare of an 86 year-old farmer. How much help and support is he receiving?

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