A livestock transporter from Keith in South Australia has been convicted and fined $5,000 for two charges of animal cruelty, Agriculture Victoria has reported.
The 51-year-old transporter, who was not publicly named, pleaded guilty in the Horsham Magistrates’ Court to the charges relating to a consignment of sheep he transported to an abattoir in western Victoria in May last year.
“During the journey a number of sheep went down in the truck and were unable to walk upon arrival at the destination,” Agriculture Victoria stated.
“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.
“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 have a responsibility for the welfare of all animals under their care from the time they are 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,” Mr Bode said.
“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.
“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.”
Agriculture Victoria says animal and welfare concerns can be reported to the animal health officer at Agriculture Victoria offices, or by calling Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or emailing email@example.com.
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