The killings of three Brahman cattle and two buffalo on properties adjacent to the Arnhem Highway has triggered an industry outcry and renewed calls for a stock squad.
Adrian Phillips, manager at Annaburroo Station, 120km south-east of Darwin, said some of his animals were among cattle and buffalo that had recently become targets for reckless hunters and shooters.
“One of my bulls suffered a lung shot but didn’t die straight away. He would have suffered horrendously,” Mr Phillips said.
“He’d only just been mustered and was walking along the inside of the Annaburroo Station fence line alongside the Arnhem Highway together with his cows. He was a beautiful and quiet animal; he would come right up to the fence and lick you and wait for a pat. What sort of hero would shoot a bull like that?”
Mr Phillips, who was raised in the cattle industry and has worked as station manager at Annaburroo, east of Mary River National Park, for six years, said stock theft and killings were an ongoing issue for pastoralists across the Northern Territory.
“It’s hard enough in our industry already. It doesn’t help when people come and shoot or injure or torture cattle and buffalo. We put our entire day and life into looking after our animals. Knowing that someone hurt or killed them in such a horrendous way makes me feel like I have failed my animals. I tracked my bull for more than three kilometers through the bush, and I haven’t slept since it happened.”
In the wake of the killings, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) is renewing its calls for the establishment of a stock squad – an appeal that is being supported by the NT Buffalo Industry Council (NTBIC).
Louise Bilato, Executive Officer of the NTBIC, said the “cruel and callous” incidents needed to be fully investigated urgently.
“These actions are absolutely unacceptable,” Ms Bilato said. “We can not sit back and watch animals suffer and get killed in such cruel and callus ways. These actions are impacting people’s livelihoods and animal welfare, and we want the culprits convicted.”
NTCA Acting CEO Romy Carey said the NT Cattleman’s Association and the NT Buffalo Industry Council would put up a joint reward for information leading to the successful conviction of the perpetrators that “recklessly engaged in the senseless killings of animals”.
“The behaviour of these weekend warriors and wannabe hunters is disgusting and sickening,” Mrs Carey said.
“Station owners across the Northern Territory are losing up to 10 animals a week to theft or slaughter.
“We’re urging the NT Government to take these ongoing issues seriously and establish a stock squad to ensure there are adequate resources allocated to deal with these types of atrocious crimes.”
In September 2020, the killing of 30 horses at Killarney Station sparked an outcry across the nation. Two men are facing nine charges related to property damage and animal cruelty. Their case will be heard in court tomorrow, January 20.
NT Cattlemen’s Association
Phone: 08 8981 5976
NT Buffalo Industry Council
Phone: 0400 107 223