An Ararat farmer has been convicted, fined $14,000, and disqualified for 10 years from owning or being a person in charge of any farm animal after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges at the Ararat Magistrates’ Court recently.

Agriculture Victoria Program Manager Animal Health and Welfare Compliance, Daniel Bode, said Ian White was convicted of 13 charges, including cruelty and aggravated cruelty charges involving the death and serious disablement of numerous sheep in his care, and two charges for failing to comply with notices.

The court heard the charges related to a failure to provide proper and sufficient food and veterinary or other appropriate treatment to approximately 475 head of sheep at Mr White’s property at Buangor, east of Ararat, in June and July 2021, and then August and October 2022.

Mr Bode said Agriculture Victoria officers first attended the property in mid-June 2021 in response to an animal welfare complaint.

Sheep were found to be suffering from starvation, worms, and pregnancy toxaemia.

Despite numerous attendances and Notices to Comply issued by officers, 135 sheep were observed deceased, and 15 were seriously disabled.

Magistrate Bailin said it was a case that very strongly called for disqualification, as the suffering of the sheep was sustained, incredibly serious and profound.

Mr Bode said the 10-year disqualification order will protect animals from further pain and suffering at the hands of the accused.

“It sends a very clear message that those who continually commit offences against animals should not have the privilege and opportunity to care for them in the future,” Mr Bode said.

“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.

“This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian Government or our community.”

Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint regarding livestock welfare can call Agriculture Victoria at 136 186 or email aw.complaint@agriculture.vic.gov.au