On Wednesday 12th February 2020, RSPCA Victoria Inspectors successfully executed a warrant on a suspected cockfighting operation with assistance from Victoria Police, at a property near Malmsbury.
RSPCA Victoria worked closely with Macedon Ranges Shire Council and Brimbank City Council to remove almost 200 birds and says the outcome is the result of a collaborative effort.
The birds removed from the Victorian property included 75 roosters allegedly groomed for cockfighting. A further 119 birds were removed including chicks, mature hens, and juvenile roosters.
While executing the warrant, cockfighting implements were also discovered and removed from the property.
The owner is currently eight years into a ten year banning order from a prior prosecution prohibiting them from being the person in charge of poultry before November 2022.
“The successful removal of the birds was achievable due to the joint efforts between all four organisations and resulted in a step forward for animal welfare in Victoria.
“While all those involved in this investigation were pleased with the outcome, it is a shocking reality that cockfighting, a barbaric activity, continues to operate in Victoria,” stated RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate Team Leader, Karen Collier.
Shane Walden, Director Assets and Operations, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, said Council Officers are pleased to have played a key role in identifying and providing intelligence that led to the execution of RSPCA’s warrants.
“Cockfighting is an abhorrent and cruel activity leading to severe suffering of the roosters involved.
“Council takes a zero tolerance approach to animal fighting and works closely with RSPCA and Victoria Police to stamp out any identified cruelty to animals.
“Council is continuing investigations into conditions and structures at the property.
“We urge the public to report any properties where animal fighting is suspected to Council, RSPCA, and Police.”
Multiple RSPCA Victoria staff were involved in assessing and removing the birds including seven inspectors, two veterinarians and one animal attendant. Representatives from local council and local Malmsbury police were also present.
Western Region 5’s Acting Superintendent Chris Large stated, “Victoria Police treats reports of animal cruelty very seriously and during this recent operation involving removal of birds from a property, we were pleased to assist the RSPCA.
We ask the community to report such matters to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.”
Cockfighting is illegal in Australia and it is also illegal to possess any equipment designed for cock fighting. Despite this, cockfighting still occurs in Australia as a form of entertainment and is often associated with other illegal practices.
Cockfighting is punishable by law as follows;
|SECTION 13 – POCTAA 1986|
|Keep, use or assist in the management of premises for the purpose of causing an animal to fight||2 years / 500 penalty units ($82,610.00 at 1 July 2019)|
|Allow or encourage an animal to fight with another animal||2 years / 500 penalty units ($82,610.00 at 1 July 2019)|
|Attend an event at which an animal is allowed or encouraged to fight with another animal||120 penalty units ($19,826.00 at 1 July 2019)|
|REGULATION 9 – POCTA Regulations 2019|
| A person must not possess a cockfighting implement|
*implement includes drugs or other performance enhancing items, as well as spurs and rings.
|20 penalty units ($3,304.40)|
RSPCA Victoria requests that anyone with information relating to cockfighting in Victoria reports it immediately via www.rspcavic.org/services/inspectorate/report-types or by calling 03 9224-2222.
Cocks (roosters) used for fighting are specifically bred for this purpose and are trained to be extremely aggressive towards other cocks. Grooming of cockfighting roosters includes the cruel practice of wattle and/or comb removal, often without pain relief. Grooming also includes removal of spurs so that artificial fighting implements can be attached to their legs.
Cockfighting places the animal at significant risk of serious pain, injury, suffering or even death for the purpose or entertainment or sport. When the birds are injured, the owners may attempt to treat the injuries themselves rather than risk being reported by an attendant veterinarian. This then places the cock’s health and welfare at even greater risk as the owners are unqualified and untrained to perform medical or surgical practices.
RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of animals in any form of fighting as animals are placed at significant risk of pain, injury, suffering or death for the purpose of entertainment.