OFFICERS from Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) are investigating the deaths of more than 500 cattle on a Pilbara cattle station.
WA Minister for Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan said initial inspections of the property have found a ‘significant number’ of cattle in poor condition with limited access to water and in some cases feed.
In addition to those found dead, she said more than 100 head of cattle had been humanely destroyed to date.
The name of the property has not been released.
“The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has moved quickly to respond to a very serious animal welfare issue in the Pilbara, and will continue to do so until all animal welfare issues have been resolved,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“This has been a particularly hot and dry season in the North-West, and we remind all pastoralists to remain vigilant.
“Clearly cattle cannot be left to just fend for themselves in these conditions – all pastoralists must accept their animal welfare responsibilities.”
It is the second serious animal welfare incident involving cattle in northern WA this year.
In early January DPIRD officers investigated the deaths of more than 1000 cattle on Noonkanbah Station, an aboriginal pastoral lease.
Minister MacTiernan said following that incident it was found that a number of water points were found to be inaccessible or not operational and required urgent repairs. Approximately 85 cattle were humanely destroyed.
She said the station was undertaking the urgent repair and replacement of infrastructure at a number of key water points, and recent rainfall had helped alleviate immediate concerns.
The Minister said the department was continuing to monitor and assess the situation.
The Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association commended the swift action of the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development in responding to the reported animal welfare issues on both stations.
“The Association is dismayed that we have another emerging animal welfare issue in the north of WA,” the KPCA said in a Facebook post this week.
“It is a difficult job to ensure that all livestock in the north of WA have ongoing access to feed and water in a challenging wet season such as we are currently experiencing.
“Pastoralists work hard to meet this challenge on a daily basis so it is disappointing that this station appears to have fallen short of their responsibilities.
“We are pleased to see animal welfare concerns are being addressed and await the further response of Minister MacTiernan and DPIRD on this matter.”
Source: WA Minister for Food and Agriculture, KPCA