10 October 2022
A Gippsland farmer was found guilty to a number of animal cruelty charges and was fined $2,500 plus $224.69 service costs in the Bairnsdale Magistrates Court.
Barry Sellings failed to appear before the court and the case was heard ex-parte in the absence of the accused to charges of animal cruelty, including aggravated cruelty, leading to the serious injury of a cow in his care.
Mr Sellings was charged with cruelty and aggravated cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Agriculture Victoria Compliance Manager, Daniel Bode, said Mr Sellings owned a cow that was left untreated for eye cancer that would have been growing for at least six months causing significant pain and suffering due to the pressure of the tumour against normal tissue.
“In early November 2020, Agriculture Victoria officers attended Mr Sellings property after receiving an animal welfare report about a cow with possible eye cancer,” Mr Bode said.
“The officers observed a Hereford cross with a large bloody mass on her left eye. The officers estimated the mass to be at least 10cm in diameter. After Mr Sellings confirmed he owned the cow, he agreed to arrange for a knackery to pick up the cow on the following day.
“The officers then attended the knackery the following day and took samples of the mass, which measured 18cm x 16cm and had become necrotic.”
Mr Bode said a bacterial infection was observed in the open wound. The eye was not visible and could not be felt by probing. A large number of maggots were found buried within the mass.
Subsequent laboratory analysis of samples taken from the cow confirmed that the growth was cancer (squamous cell carcinoma).
Agriculture Victoria Compliance Manager, Daniel Bode, said the dedication and professionalism of the Agriculture Victoria officers and the outstanding investigative work undertaken by the officers were fundamental in ensuring a conclusive result.
“Apart from the obvious pain and suffering of the animals, animal welfare breaches can jeopardise Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food, which can, in turn, affect all producers and livestock owners.
“This is a reminder to all livestock owners that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian Government or our community.”
Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint in regard to livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or email@example.com
Media contact: Sarah Hetherington
Phone: 0409 405 639