Tubbut farmer charged with cruelty and killing protected wildlife

Judy Edwards, farmer at Tubbut, was charged $10,000 in the Orbost Court on 5th December 2019 under the Wildlife Act and the prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. She is a neighbour of John Auer who is accused of poisoning over 400 Wedge-tailed Eagles.

The old steel-jawed traps which are inhumane and cause horrific suffering. There were 80 found on the property.

Judy Edwards was up on 36 charges but some had been withdrawn and the remaining five saw her charged under both the Wildlife Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Officers from DELWP and police raided her property last year and found 74 dead birds were found. Many were stuffed into chaff bags and hidden in windrows of cleared vegetation. This included five Wedge Tailed Eagles, 39 butcher birds, cockies, native water birds and other protected avian species. There were also 80 steel jawed traps found (now illegal to use) and two areas where there were 12 active traps set around carcasses.

Another Wedge-tailed Eagle found in Tubbut by local wildlife carers several years ago. The practice appears to be widespread. This eagle had to be put down due to the foot damage.

Two ravens that had been dead for less than a week were analysed and a dead fox with a broken front and back leg was found. All had been trapped and it was described as having inflicted ‘horrendous’ cruelty.

There was no licence or authority obtained to kill protected native animals. This woman has been farming in the Tubbut area for 64 years.

The maximum penalty for the five charges was $167,000 or four and a half years’ imprisonment.

Judy Edwards, born and bred in the Tubbut area has been farming there for 64 years.

The prosecution for DELWP said Judy Edwards had “complete disregard for the legislation” and that the traps were illegal, inhumane and non-target specific. He handed the magistrate a series of photos showing the active traps placed around three lamb carcasses. The prosecutor said there are other options for dealing with wildlife but she had never contacted DELWP.

In sentencing, Magistrate Garnett said it was a difficult decision and he took into account the seriousness of the charges as well as her age and personal circumstances. He would otherwise be inclined to give a custodial (jail) sentence and a $15,000 fine. Instead he fined her $10,000.

The moral of this story? If you want to illegally trap and kill Eagles and other native birds with steel jawed traps, get your Granny to do it!

11 Replies to “Tubbut farmer charged with cruelty and killing protected wildlife”

  1. This woman’s actions were over decades and the fine is no deterrent, a prison sentence should have been imposed.

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  2. Oh no !Does not reflect the seriousness of the crime!

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  3. Disgusting. Shame on her and shame on the magistrate for such a pathetic punishment.

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  4. The Magistrate should have given more weight to the death if protected animals and others. She knew what she was doing. Using carcasses to lure in the animals shows premeditation. The animals always lose out. She should be doing time plus the fine.

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  5. How does a $167000 and jail turn into a measly $10000 fine ?

    This is appalling I’m she has been doing this for the whole time she has been farming how many thousands of endangered wildlife does someone have to kill before they are properly punished … this won’t stop her

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  6. There are many others still doing it and its common practice to use Lucijet as a poison.

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    1. Many farmers continue this practice in willful ignorance (probably not good to help others by advertising the chemicals used).
      What’s needed is for locals who know this is going on to report their suspicions to DELWP’s wildlife officers or their compliance section. There doesn’t need to be hard evidence.

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  7. Prison

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  8. Barbara PITKUNIGS December 11, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    So wrong …her age has nothing to do with it nor her financial state…she has committed a brutal crime again these poor animals and who knows for how long she has been doing this and how many she has actually killed over all those years …she should have gone to jail …she will just do it again ….so so so so wrong…wake up

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  9. The prosecutor should be appealing the sentence

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    1. In this latest update of May 2020- the prosecution (DELWP) did not even lay charges.

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