Dead battery threat to cattle
AGRICULTURE minister Niall Blair has praised Central West Local Land Services (CWLLS) for throwing its weight behind a charity battery drive to raise funds for the Dubbo Roos juniors Under-15 New Zealand rugby tour this September.
He said it’s always important for farmers to ensure their dead batteries are kept out of the reach of their cattle, and says the warning from LLS that cattle look even harder for a lead taste during drought conditions couldn’t be more timely.
“We want to make sure that we get all those batteries off properties and we don’t want any cattle coming into contact with them,” Mr Blair said.
“But what better way to do it if you’ve got a local rugby club or another community organisation that’s doing the clean up as a fundraiser.
“So I just urge everyone, have a think, have a look, see if you’ve got any (dead batteries) lying around and contact those that are looking to help you clean it up,” he said.
Leading the local charge is CWLLS district veterinarian Dr Evelyn Walker. She’s issued these warnings before but said the dry conditions meant cattle were chasing a lead fix even more aggressively than when there’s plenty of feed around.
“When it’s dry like this, cattle tend to chase things they wouldn’t normally chase, or eat, and one of those is lead batteries, car batteries, old trucks and even motorbike batteries as well,” Dr Walker said.
“It is a big issue and in fact we’ve had a couple of cases in the last couple of months in this area, so it is something to be aware of.
“It’s definitely not a good outcome. With cattle, when they find the batteries they really like the taste of it. They just go for it and tell all their mates and then all their mates go for it too.
“When (the cattle have had too much lead it causes livestock deaths.
“Unfortunately, when a diagnosis of lead is made the property goes into quarantine and we have to identify all the animals that have potentially eaten the lead and make sure that those animals don’t enter the food chain,” she said.
She’s a fan of the Under-15 Roos charity drive because they’ll pick up batteries on farm. She says farmers often intend to take their batteries into town to get rid of them, but oftentimes they get busy and that battery disposal trip just keeps getting deferred.
“Many people have too many things on their minds; they have a stack of batteries sitting in the shed but just haven’t gotten around to cleaning up, and so (thanks to this fundraiser) it’s one less thing you have to worry about,” Dr Walker said.
“Ring someone up and they can come and get your batteries. Rugby is such a big thing in the country areas and you’ll definitely be supporting something local.
She again urged property owners to clear their paddocks and other areas of old batteries. “Just pick up your batteries – even if you think (your stock) haven’t touched them for 20 years – and get them out of the paddock now,” she urged.
To dispose of batteries off farm or in town, call James Parnaby on 0448 871 282.
NSW Agriculture minister Niall Blair (pictured above) is concerned about the dangers to stock of old batteries left lying in paddocks. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS