By Mitchell Clarke
A prominent Upper Beaconsfield farmer John Gommans has again become the target of animal activists, with controversial group ‘Aussie Farms’ releasing confronting footage from his farm.
Mr Gommans, who owns four farms in Gippsland, including Caldermeade Farm, admitted to the Gazette that the footage taken did occur on his Trafalgar farm, Cibus Goats.
As a result, Agriculture Victoria has confirmed they investigated reports of alleged cruelty at the farm and has now concluded their investigation. They were unable to elaborate on their findings.
The footage was released to coincide with the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Activism on Victorian Agriculture and featured vision from this year and as long as six years ago.
The leaked video shows one day old male goats being shot in the skull with a captive bolt. As they provide no use to the dairy industry, one by one, the goats are sorted and are systematically shot as other goats watch on.
Mr Gommans confirmed this footage was taken this year and that the farms will no longer be killing the baby male goats, instead farming them for their meat.
Aussie Farms Director Chris Delforce said the most recent footage highlighted yet another example of an industry with “zero transparency” or laws to “properly” govern it.
“The man responsible for what has been captured in this footage has gained the sympathy of the community while secretly doing something that the ordinary person would consider nothing short of unacceptable animal cruelty,” Mr Delforce said.
“He has taken us all for a ride and in reality is treating his animals, quite literally, like trash.
“Gommans was inviting the public to interact with these kids at his café, using them as a cute drawcard, while simultaneously shooting a bolt into their head at another property. It’s time for the other side of the story to be told.”
The Gazette understands that everything in the footage was completely legal under current legislation, but as the inquiry looks to impose tougher laws on trespassers, activists are instead calling for tougher welfare laws.
“This is not an isolated incident, it is routine practice, and our footage shows that it occurs daily,” Mr Delforce said.
“Consumers are being deceived by the animal agriculture industry. They deserve to know the truth and we will continue to expose it. We won’t stop until the cruelty does.”
The secret footage also showed farm staff throwing the animals while injured goats struggled to walk or stand up.
Mr Gommans acknowledged some of the footage was distressing and that had he been aware of this at the time, the perpetrator would have been dismissed immediately.
“Nobody should be cruel to animals,” Mr Gommans said.
The parliamentary inquiry came about in response to an incident where Mr Gommans’ Gippy Goat Café was raided by activists who stole livestock, after they alleged cruelty had occurred on the property.
Mr Gommans said he recognises his farms were likely to be “attacked” again by vegan activists but it wouldn’t stop him from continuing to fulfil his livelihood.
“Farmers should be protected from trespass and theft, we are monitored by a range of government bodies,” he said.
“No way, we won’t be stopping farming because of this.”