SA livestock transporter pleads guilty to animal cruelty

Agriculture Victoria highlights case heard in Horsham court

SA livestock transporter pleads guilty to animal cruelty
An Agriculture Victoria officer with two of the new signs


A 51-year-old livestock transporter from Keith in South Australia has pleaded guilty to two charges of animal cruelty and received a $5,000 fine with conviction in the Horsham Magistrate's Court, Agriculture Victoria reports.

The unnamed transporter faced the court last week in relation to animal cruelty charges for a consignment of sheep that he transported to an abattoir in western Victoria in May 2018.

It was alleged that 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 says.

"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."

Livestock transport safety concern has also focused on drivers recently, here

Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare compliance manager Daniel Bode says 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," Bode adds.

"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."

While not a common legal action in the state and while state and federal livestock transport association are acutely sensitive to and advise members on animal welfare issues, the case comes after the state authority embarked on a livestock safety campaign highlighting that livestock must be ‘fit for transport’ will soon be in place at all Victorian saleyards and livestock scales.

Agriculture Victoria has developed new animal welfare signs to remind all parties across the livestock supply chain about their obligations when transporting livestock.

Agriculture Victoria livestock welfare compliance program manager Dr Rachael Holmes says the signs served as an important reminder to livestock producers, agents and transporters.

"Livestock must be inspected prior to being loaded and they must not be suffering from conditions that could cause, or would be likely to cause, increased pain or distress during transport," Dr Holmes says.

"Any person in charge of an animal, which may include producers, farm workers, transporters and livestock agents, must not allow any animal to be loaded that is not fit for the journey ahead.

"It is the responsibility of each person in charge of the animal at each step of the supply chain, to make that assessment, and to make appropriate arrangements for the care, treatment or humane destruction of any animals that are deemed to be unfit for transportation."


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