R v McLean, 2014 MBPC

The accused has entered guilty pleas to 13 individual counts under s 2(1) of The Animal Care Act. The charges were related to the condition of the herd of cattle. Inspections by an animal protection officer revealed that the cows death was consistent with being starved to death. The starvation of the animals was coupled with other forms of neglect including animals that were improperly penned together, pens which were improperly maintained and filled.

The accused is an experienced cattle and grain farmer and worked on this farm his entire life. With the passing of his mother, a dispute arose over the estate. The entire estate dispute was the subject of a trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench; see McLean v McLean, 2012 MBQB, 206. In the holding, Judge Simonsen held that the cattle in question belonged to the accused, while others belonged to his mother’s estate.

Dealing with the facts in support of the current charges, the judge emphasized that each animal in the herd was succumbed to starvation and had suffered enormously. The degeneration of the herd was due centrally to the action and inaction of the accused and was not from the animals pre-existing ill health. This is because prior to the accused’s negligence, the animals were described as being in excellent condition. The court further notes that the accused’s inaction and actions represent a betrayal of a lifetime of farming experience. Also the accused was an experienced cattle farmer. As such, the accused knew he had other options when financial difficulties set in.

When deciding the accused’s sentencing, the court took into consideration that the accused will be working out of province. Also the accused was facing difficult circumstances with the estate and had personal problems. The accused was given a sentence to be served intermittently, followed by parole, and a lifetime animal prohibition.