DATE: February 11, 2019
SNIP: Farmers who managed to keep their cattle alive for seven years, through one of Australia’s worst droughts in history, have watched their herds wiped out in a matter of days after unprecedented floods devastated much of Queensland.
If the cattle have not drowned or frozen to death in the elements, devastated farmers now face having to kill thousands of animals. The situation is so terrible that there are reports the farmers have run out of bullets.
Some farmers are estimating almost 100 per cent stock losses while the state’s cattle industry as a whole is expecting about 500,000 dead cattle.
When the first rain started to fall in the state’s west two weeks ago, drought-stricken farmers felt they could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s been more than seven years since the region received a substantial downpour but the monsoon — which saw clouds dump three years worth of rain in 10 days — is expected to cripple farmers for decades.
“As we begin to access our paddocks we are being confronted with death and devastation at every turn. There are kangaroos dead in trees and fences, birds drowned in drifts of silt and debris and our beloved bovine family lay perished in piles where they have been huddling for protection and warmth,” grazier Jacqueline Curley wrote.
“This scene is mirrored across the entire region, it is absolutely soul destroying to think our animals suffered like this.
“The rain and wind was so intense they piled on top of one another for warmth. Many of these were still alive but we had to shoot most of them. We lifted the live ones out with helicopters to try saving them, but only a few survived,” Ms Curley captioned one of her heartbreaking pictures.
“They haven’t seen a live kangaroo. When the choppers go out everything is dead. Everything.”
The devastation brought Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services chief Katarina Carroll to tears last week when she was asked to compare the floods and Cyclone Debbie.
“From the fires that we experienced at the end of November, just the end of November to the first week of December, never in the history of this state have we seen anything like this.”