Shearer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

A YOUNG Naracoorte shearer has received a 12-month adjourned undertaking and ordered to make a $1000 donation to the RSPCA after pleading guilty to two charges of animal cruelty.

The 21 year old appeared in the Horsham Magistrates Court on Monday where he faced animal cruelty charges relating to beating and abusing sheep in a Victorian shearing shed in December 2017.

The shearer conducted various acts of cruelty on sheep including stomping on sheep’s necks, striking sheep in the head with his shearing handpiece and punching sheep in the head.

In handing down the sentence the Magistrate said he took cases of animal cruelty seriously.

“If you work with animals you have a responsibility, not just to your employer and not just to the production of wool, but to the animal you are working with to do your job in a humane way that causes as little trauma to the animal as possible to fulfil your duty.”

The Magistrate noted some time has passed since the offence had been committed and the defendant now had more experience and maturity and better understood his role.

Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare compliance manager Daniel Bode said all persons in charge of livestock, including people shearing sheep, have obligations for the care and overall welfare of the animal they are handling at any given time.

“It is an animal cruelty offence to beat or abuse an animal and this kind of behaviour is unacceptable,” Mr Bode said.

“This case is a strong reminder that shearers need to exercise their duty of care to animals they are handling and the mistreatment of animals will not be tolerated by the Victorian community.”

Reports of animal cruelty concerning commercial livestock should be made to either Agriculture Victoria or the RSPCA in South Australia.

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