A sanc­tu­ary in drought

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Liana Walker news@ru­ral­weekly.com

WHEN Na­talie and Brett Steven­son started Cranky’s Farm eight years ago they didn’t ex­pect to be res­cu­ing cat­tle from drought-stricken farms.

De­spite al­ready car­ing for 20 res­cue an­i­mals, they al­ways have room for one more at their sanc­tu­ary in The Sum­mit.

The cou­ple are pre­par­ing for the ar­rival of a steer this week who had been liv­ing on an ag­ist­ment prop­erty in Cur­rumbin which ran out of grass.

“They’re hav­ing to feed all of the pro­duc­tion an­i­mals on the prop­erty and they just can’t af­ford to feed him,”

Mrs Steven­son said.

“That’s not even par­tic­u­larly in a drought area – it’s a lack of hay as well as a lack of grass.

“This is the worst. We’ve been here since 2010 and this is the ab­so­lute worst so far.”

As a char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion they aren’t el­i­gi­ble for the Buy a Bale pro­gram, which Mrs Steven­son said re­sulted in costs go­ing up.

“The fundrais­ing group has $1 mil­lion now so they’re buy­ing up all of the hay.

“So what is hap­pen­ing is there’s very lit­tle hay for ev­ery­one else and it’s ridicu­lously priced.

“We just paid $180 for a round bale which should cost around $110.

“The only thing we can do is fundraise.”

Although the cou­ple have owned the an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary since 2010, they only sought char­ity sta­tus in Jan­uary this year.

“We had so many peo­ple com­ing to us want­ing to help and we wanted to do it of­fi­cially,” Mr Steven­son said.

“Up to then we self-funded all of these guys our­selves.”

The pair work full time in Bris­bane, mean­ing they only take on an­i­mals that don’t need care seven days a week.

“We haven’t had any is­sues and we’ve been here since 2010 – as long as we leave them enough food, which ob­vi­ously in the drought is more of a chal­lenge,”

Mrs Steven­son said.

They re­cently started a spon­sor­ship pro­gram for the an­i­mals on the farm, but only as a means for tak­ing on more res­cues.

De­spite the tough con­di­tions, the pair still want any­one who has an an­i­mal they can’t feed to con­sider bring­ing it to their sanc­tu­ary.

“We haven’t had to say no. We would rather be hun­gry than say no,” Mrs Steven­son said.

“Once the funds from the char­ity run out, ours are just go­ing to kick back in.”

We’ve been here since 2010 and this is the ab­so­lute worst so far. — Na­talie Steven­son

PHOTO: LIANA WALKER

FURRY FRIENDS: Na­talie and Brett Steven­son with two of their res­cue cat­tle at Cranky’s Farm.

PHOTO: LIANA WALKER

Na­talie Steven­son says all their an­i­mals have dis­tinct per­son­al­i­ties.

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