Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Rustling Rampant? Is Rustling Rampant? Farmers Report Stock Losses

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Rustling Rampant? Is Rustling Rampant? Farmers Report Stock Losses

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DEEFHOLTS terry.deefholts@dailyexaminer.com.au

DEPENDING on who you speak to, cattle theft in the Clarence Valley is either running rampant or it is virtually non-existent.

The Examiner spoke to several farmers this week who considered cattle theft to be a significant problem in the area.

David Ryland, who manages Hanging Rock Station at Cangai, said he had been forced to move more than 500 head of cattle to another region because of ongoing stock theft.

Mr Ryland said he was appointed in August to stem the estimated loss of 800 head of cattle in the past four years.

Although Mr Ryland said he knew who was stealing his company's cattle and could prove ownership, he said he had received little support from local police who had told him his case was a civil legal matter.

Fineflower cattle producer and Livestock Health and Pest Authority director Adam Chapman said cattle duffing was alive and well in the Valley a especially on larger-scale properties where there were fewer residents to take note of traffic movements and there were several months between musters.

aThere's really a lack of resources for police to investigate cattle theft. I've heard of one farmer losing 30 head at once but very little is done,a he said. aIf someone went to Grafton and stole $30,000 you'd have detectives working on it day and night.a

Swan Creek couple Marg and Stuart McPhee said they had lost 86 cattle in the past 17 years and felt police were not doing enough to prosecute offenders.

aThere's no one to help us follow through; we've even found our cattle in someone's yard, but because he just said they wandered in there, he was left alone. There were two good fences between us ... we had to pay him $5 a head to get them back.a

An Ulmarra farmer, who asked not to be named, said he didn't believe cattle duffing was as much of a problem on the Lower Clarence as it was in the upper reaches.

A crime once punishable by hanging, cattle duffing presents significant challenges for farmers and police to prove.

Animals can wander between properties through broken fences, can get washed away in flood-water, can cross roads and hills or can simply die and be eaten by wild animals. …

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