Farmer found guilty of animal cruelty

A GIPPSLAND farmer was found guilty of a number of animal cruelty charges after he left a cow with untreated eye cancer that was necrotic (dead tissue) and riddled with maggots.

Barry Sellings was fined $2500 plus $224 in service costs in the Bairnsdale Magistrates Court for charges including aggravated cruelty leading to the serious injury of a cow in his care.

Mr Sellings failed to appear before the court and the case was heard in his absence.

Agriculture Victoria compliance manager, Daniel Bode, said the cow’s eye cancer would have been growing for at least six months, causing great pain and suffering due to the pressure of the tumour against normal tissue.

Mr Bode said officers attended Mr Selling’s property in November 2020 after receiving an animal welfare report about a cow with possible eye cancer.

“The officers observed a Hereford cross with a large bloody mass on her left eye. The officers estimated the mass to be at least 10 centimetres in diameter,” Mr Bode said.

“After Mr Sellings confirmed he owned the cow, he agreed to arrange for a knackery to pick up the cow on the following day.”

Mr Bode said officers attended the knackery the next day and took samples from the mass, which had become necrotic and measured 18-by-16 centimetres.

He said said a bacterial infection was found in the open wound and the eye was not visible and couldn’t be felt by probing. A large number of maggots were found buried within the mass.

Subsequent laboratory analysis confirmed that the growth was cancerous.

“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,” Mr Bode said.

“This is a reminder to all livestock owners that animal cruelty won’t be tolerated by the Victorian government or our community.”

Gippsland Farmer

The Gippsland Farmer is a monthly agricultural newspaper reporting on rural news and distributed FREE and direct to an area covering from Cann River through to South Gippsland. For more than 40 years Gippsland Farmer has reported on a range of issues and industries including dairy, beef, vegetables, sheep, goats, poultry, organic farming, and viticulture.