Long serving board member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson will stand trial for animal cruelty on the 25th of this month in Perth.
Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges have been laid against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd.
This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers, have been dismissed.
Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation Administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters to dissipate while the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared for the looming trial date.
“We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs. If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time. Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice. “Our calls to the Department on the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date. The Department states that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.”
DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty. Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.