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Council calls in RSPCA to assist in reviewing animal management practices

Armidale Regional Council is voluntarily requesting the RSPCA assist Council to review its animal management practices in response to the death of cattle on Council owned land.

Council was alerted by an adjoining neighbour on Sunday 6 January that there was a dead steer along the property boundary. Council immediately attended the site and identified that a trough used to water the animals was dry and the tap used to provide water was physically turned off. Further inspection of the herd revealed that other animals were in distress.

A Council staff member has been onsite daily managing the distressed cattle and slowly rehydrating them. Unfortunately a number of steers have had to be euthanased. Council last inspected the herd and troughs on 30 December and identified the first deceased animal on 6 January.

The decision by Council to euthanase was not taken lightly and was in the best interest of the animal.

Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law says it is important now that Council works with the RSPCA and implements all recommendations.

“This incident has been very distressing for all of us at Council and in particular those staff involved in the management of the herd as well as to members of the community,” said Susan Law.

“Council has been managing large cattle herds at our Waste Water Treatment Plant and Reuse Farm as well as on land owned by Council for many years without incident. Our staff are extremely competent in cattle management and take animal welfare extremely seriously.

“In discussing the death of the cattle with the RSPCA we were left confident that Council did everything it could in managing the welfare of the sick and dying cattle.

“We will be doing everything in our power to ensure that this does not happen again, but unfortunately in this case there is a possibility that someone may have tampered with the tap. Council staff have now secured the tap on the trough system to ensure that the tap cannot be turned off.”

The Police are conducting an investigation in to the deaths of the cattle including whether the trough system was deliberately tampered with.  Council is also being assisted by a veterinary doctor assessing the cause of death of the animals.      

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