THREE Gippsland-based livestock agents have been ordered to pay a total of $12,000 to the RSPCA for failing to correctly record cattle movements, after facing the Sale Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Wellington Livestock principal Steven Boulton pleaded guilty to charges relating to livestock traceability and failing to update records.
Fellow Wellington Livestock agents, Peter Rosenberg and Clayton Kelly, also in court, were found guilty of similar charges and moving cattle between properties without National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices. The men will also be required to undertake NLIS training for livestock producers this year.
The charges followed an 18-month investigation by the Department of Economic Development Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) into breaches relating to the movement of 332 cattle.
Mr Boulton was charged with seven of the 13 offences and is one of two owners of Wellington Livestock, of Cobains Road, Cobains, near Sale. Mr Rosenberg was charged with four livestock movement breaches and Mr Kelly, three.
The charges relate to not notifying authorities of the cattle movement within seven days required under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 and the Livestock Disease Control Regulations 2017, in accordance with the NLIS.
In a statement, Agriculture Victoria manager livestock traceability Ben Fahy said it was against the law for livestock owners and agents to move animals between two different Property Identification Code (PIC) without conducting a database transfer.
“This case serves as a reminder that missing, false or misleading information relating to livestock identification and movements threatens the Victorian industry’s reputation for safe food production,” he said.
“The cattle industry is an essential part of our rural and regional communities and their ongoing prosperity relies on having effective traceability systems to underpin confidence in our products and to maintain access to local and international markets.
“Accurate and up-to-date information about where livestock are kept is essential to protect the state’s $5 billion livestock industry. If livestock owners fail to accurately track their livestock, it can jeopardise the entire industry.”
In March, the DEDJTR laid 332 charges relating to NLIS breaches against Wellington Livestock agents, which each carried a penalty of $792. These charges were reviewed, with the three agents charged with 13 offences in total.