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 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 states Animal Welfare Legislation administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters to dissipate while Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared to 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 in 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 state 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. Lets hope they are on the ball for this one.
Further information: Lee McCosker 0412326030
Mr Ferguson is currently listed on the Australia Pork Limited website as a Board Member.
Mr Ferguson is currently Chairperson of WA Agriculture Produce Commission Pork Producers Committee and is appointed to this position until 2014.
The Pork Producers Committee funds WAPPA (West Australian Pork Producers Association) and their pork industry training.
Ferguson faced court in June 2010 but the matter was withdrawn because of a technical legal difficulty.
The fresh charges against Ferguson were heard on 15th August and Ferguson is ordered to stand trial on 25th November 2011.
Director of Australian Pork Limited, Neil Ferguson
, has been charged with being cruel to an animal, namely a pig, which suffered harm that could have been alleviated by the taking of reasonable steps under section 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.
Ferguson also chairs the WA Agriculture Produce Commission (Pork Committee) and is on the Committee of Pork Training WA.
Westpork piggery, managed by Ferguson, was raided by police two years ago amid claims that some pigs at the facility had eaten others which had died in the pens has been charged with animal cruelty. Read the full story
and view the disturbing footage
The matter will again be before Midlands Magistrate Court (WA) on the 29th September 2009.
This is an embarrassing situation for the Australian Pork Industry. We would like a clear statement from Australian Pork Limited that this sort of cruelty and disregard for animal and human health will not be tolerated. This cannot be dismissed as an isolated incident and Mr Ferguson should be stood down from the Board of APL until this matter is heard in court.