Its been very tough in some parts of south eastern Australia over the past 12 months
Nasty weather,high feed costs and abominable milk prices has created a very challenging environment in which to farm.
This weekend the media was full of very distressing stories and images on the plight of some farmers and their cattle in South West Victoria.
The Australian Cows are dying as fodder runs out
ABC Desperate Decisions for Victorian Dairy Farmers
The Weekly Times Calls for Drought Declaration
The Standard VFF calls for emergency relief for South West Farmers
Firstly I want to make it clear that the majority of my knowledge too comes from the media and I haven’t visited any of these farms.
What distressed me about the articles was the apparent blame shifting, the government hadn’t done this and should have done this and apparently some animal welfare groups were all up in arms and want to have farmers prosecuted.
Its time we got back to basics. This is a people welfare problem first and foremost and this is where the focus has to start.
It should be just a given that farmers care for their cows and in the main the community think that they do as our Art4Agriculture surveys show
Lets send the animal welfare activists packing and lets look after the people so they can look after their cows. Its time to stop the blame shifting and do what the community does best and surround these people with strong support networks. Lets share the burden, find them some feed for their cows and most importantly show them we care .
If you are a dairy farmer who knows some-one in need of help Milk Maid Marian has listed many of the support networks here
In a bizarre media twist this story has come out today from The Standard Our cows are OK say South West Farmers and Vets which sadly highlights once again that animal welfare in this country is a much bigger story that people welfare