By Nathan Johnston
DOZENS of young cattle, not long weaned, have been left for dead on a farm near Loch.
Their carcasses are sprawled across the thistle-infested hills, hidden under cypress trees, along fence lines, in dams, creeks and gullies.
Many are still alive, but with blizzard like conditions expected later in the week, whether they survive until the weekend is doubtful if nothing is done.
An experienced local farmer, who has cattle on agistment nearby, was utterly appalled with the situation and called authorities.
He also called the Sentinel-Times on Friday, and explained what he’d seen develop at the property.
“I’ve been watching what’s been going on here for the past week and a half and in the last couple of days they’ve just started dropping dead.
“Once they’re full of worms, which is what they’ve got, and they’re short of grass or feed, the worms just eat them alive.”
He said he believes the owner of the property is Melbourne-based, but is hardly seen. The paddocks are green but overstocked, without enough grass.
The concerned local farmer walked through the property after seeing carcasses from the road.
“They’re dead in dams, creeks and gullies. It’s unbelievable.”
He counted 43, and said that figure could double by the weekend if there’s no intervention.
He pointed out the sickly gait on some of the surviving cattle, and winced as they convulsed whilst walking around, looking for food.
An upmarket four-wheel drive was at the property on Friday with a full load of hay in a trailer. Some the hay was thrown around the carcasses.
A large cattle truck had also arrived and was loading up an estimated 70 cattle to take from the property.
The concerned farmer called the Sentinel-Times again yesterday and said all the hay was gone.
“They’ll be dozens more dead when the cold snap hits.”
DEPI animal health staff visited the property last week immediately upon notification of the dead cattle.
“Samples taken are being analysed, with the results expected shortly,” DEPI spokesman Alan Everett said.
“DEPI continues with the investigation.”
DEPI is expected to interview the property owner this week. It has the power to prosecute offenders found to be culpable if circumstances warrant such action.
In the meantime, DEPI will monitor the farm and has been assured the property owner will also ‘keep an eye’ on the stock.
“Unusual deaths or symptoms should be reported immediately to your local DEPI animal health officer or on the Emergency Animal Diseases Hotline 1800 675 888 (All hours),” Mr Everett said.