Dead Cows


Story Details

Ask any farmer and most will say it's tough living on the land… But is there any excuse for animal negligence?

"We've got cattle here that are so badly infected with lice they've got blood and puss coming out of them, no hair left on their necks or shoulders," says Robert Young.

Robert lives in Nangkita on a neighbouring property to the owner of these cattle... Many of which aren't just infected by lice but also appear to be severely under-nourished...

"The cattle hasn't been fed since May, they've been getting out on the roads the last two months," says Robert.

According to Rob his neighbours livestock are forced to survive on what little feed grows in the paddocks.

"Nut grass is a fibrous type of material that doesn't break down in the cows’ stomach and rolls into a ball and finishes up blocking the cows stomach completely," explains Rob.

It appears to be taking it's toll… Earlier this month Rob found two cows dead in the creek.

"These two cows here were that weak they went in here looking for something to eat they were that week they couldn't get out so they just lay down and died," says Rob.

He called the RSPCA to notify them of his disturbing discovery and complain about the state of the rest of the herd but didn't get far.

"As far as we were told yesterday it’s under investigation, and they've given him a certain time to do something otherwise the cattle will be seized and taken from him," says Rob.

The landowner is Phil Foster but he lives in the city and according to Rob only visits his Nangkita property once a week.

It just so happened he came yesterday while we were there investigating Robs claims…

"Phil? Lucy from Channel Seven, can I ask you a question?"

But he wasn't interested in talking to us...

"Don't come on the property."

"Alright will you talk to us outside of the property?"

Instead of discussing the matter he tried to run us over...

"You almost ran over my camera man!"

"He walked on my property."

As requested and for our own safety, we stayed off his property and remained none the wiser as his version of events. However he did have a load of hay delivered.

"Phil’s out behind us now on his property hopefully feeding his cattle with the hay he's just brought in, what do you make of this?"

"I'm just so glad someone’s made him get off his arse and get some hay, you've got to understand what was brought in is only a weeks’ worth of hay, what's going to happen after that?" says Rob.

In the meantime there's still the issue of the dead cattle that have been rotting in the waterway for over two weeks.

"So this is where the spring starts is that right Rob?"

"This is where it starts and it flows down-stream, the houses below us draw the water out… We've been onto the EPA and we can't get any answers, so what do you do?" asks Rob.

Local Liberal MP Michael Pengilly has contacted the EPA and is demanding that action be taken...

"There seems to be a lot of duck shoving between relevant authorities until I contacted the Chief Executive’s office and the EPA, there was absolutely no action from the local council, the NRN board and so on and the EPA even… all these people have legislative roles to perform and have roles and responsibilities and they don't seem to want to carry them out," says Michael.

As for the serious complaints regarding the health of Phil Fosters cattle... The RSPCA told us...

“There is an on-going investigation. The RSPCA has visited twice and though the stock is underweight the condition is not life threatening. The cows died from becoming stuck and were unable to escape. The owner is co-operating."

"More and more are going to keep dying if nothing’s done," says Rob.

Last night Mr Foster sent us a letter from a friends’ email address accusing us of aggressive and irate behaviour... Despite his attempt to run us over... He also said he'd agree to an interview but left no contact details...

"If you can stand and watch cattle lose condition, lose the money you've invested, what's the sense in having them?" asks Rob.