A cattle scale operator and his business have been found guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court for failing to record the movement information of cattle sold through a number of the scales run by the accused.
Agriculture Victoria Compliance Manager Daniel Bode said during visits to multiple properties in the region between 11 and 14 February 2019 Animal Health Officers scanned 70 head of cattle.
It was discovered that the accused had not uploaded any mandatory livestock movement information in relation to these animals and that there was no data indicating the animals were ever present at the scale operators locations.
Mr Bode said the life histories for all of these National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices were either missing movement information or were inaccurate due to the failure of the accused to forward the movement information to the NLIS Database.
The court found the matter proven and imposed with conviction fines totalling $6000 and also awarded costs of $346.70.
Mr Bode said failure to provide the required information to the NLIS database causes a significant gap in important traceability information.
“Livestock traceability is extremely important, not only to maintain strong market access for the $14.5 billion export industry, but also for emergency disease preparedness and response.
“In the event of a disease outbreak incorrect or missing movement data delays the tracing of animals and makes it more difficult to adequately identify at-risk properties and locations of potential exposure, rapidly,” he said.
The accused stated that he had been an agent for over 40 years and had never had an issue previously with uploading cattle and that he was not adequately trained.
His Honour took into account his early plea and remorse but stated that it was ultimately his responsibility to ensure things were being done correctly.
The court found the matter proven and imposed with conviction fines totalling $6000; $3000 for the company and $3000 for the scale operator.
His Honour also said if not for the man’s remorse and early plea he would have otherwise imposed a $6,000 fine on him alone.
Mr Bode said scale and saleyard businesses play an important role for livestock industries in recording movement data for livestock traded through their business.
“It is a reminder to producers that when livestock are bought, sold or moved through a saleyard, scale, public auction conducted on-farm or sold directly to an abattoir or knackery, it is the responsibility of the person operating that business to notify the database.”