Cattle Theft on Rise...but Saleyards are Reluctant to Report it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 

Cattle duffing is becoming the most common rural crime in NSW, with saleyards operators warned to be more vigilant about livestock movements in and around their selling centres.

Assistant Commissioner and Western Region Commander Steve Bradshaw says the livestock industry is wide open to criminal activity.  In particular, saleyard security is increasingly becoming an issue, with many industry representatives reluctant to report thefts because it might give their sale centres a bad reputation, discouraging both vendors and buyers.

By keeping a close eye on stock movements at saleyards, operators can help protect the livestock industries against stock theft and the spread of animal disease by using improved animal tracing techniques, Mr Bradshaw said.  Working with transport operators to make sure forms such asTransported Stock Statements (TSS), National Vendor Declarations (NVD), and National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) information are completed is important.

While it was a legal requirement and in producers' interest to comply with movement and stock identification requirements, all members of the livestock industry also had a responsibility to keep an eye out for criminal activity, Mr Bradshaw said.  He urges operators to work with the police and rural crime units to combat unlawful activity.

Mr Bradshaw said rural crime officially cost the $70 billion Australian agriculture sector about $70 million each year and that was with about 70% of farm crime not reported.  This translated to each farmer losing about $5701 a year from crimes that included theft of livestock, produce, machinery or other property, burglary, vandalism or sabotage, and illegal hunting or fishing.

NSW Farmers Association president, Jock Laurie, said livestock theft should not be taken lightly by authorities.  "Its not easy to prove stock theft because you have to be up to date with your books and show stock movement clearly in documents," he said.  In addition, Mr. Bradshaw stated "but new technologies including camera and video are making headway in combating rural and remote crimes."  He said measures are being put into place to combat stock theft,  included enabling police to issue on-the-spot fines for trespassing and streamlining the system for checking the origin and destination of travelling stock.

Police had created a special operation to target thieves in country areas, with 33 rural crime investigators spread across 27 country local area commands.  Mr Bradshaw said other emerging rural crime trends included the theft of diesel fuel and straying stock, which could become both a safety and financial issue for the public and producers.



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