orphaned calves




The RSPCA – in real life – shoots cattle and charges farmers with  Aggravated Cruelty because their animals are lean, due to a prolonged drought, but are in no way disabled, disfigured, or anywhere near the point of death, but are – in fact - being fed at great cost.

There was a time when I believed that RSPCA was a respectable and caring organisation. Not any more.

During the prolonged drought in NSW, which affected my sister, Ruth Downey, for six years, she managed to keep her cattle strong and healthy, though lean.

In February 2007 she had difficulty getting good quality hay, which had to be sourced from interstate.  In a very short period her cattle lost condition. An unnamed person reported her to RSPCA for having thin cattle.

Just one complaint is all it takes to have "rude" and "belligerent" inspectors, accompanied by a cavalcade of vehicles, carrying people from government departments, laying down the ultimatum that cows must have a certain ‘beef-fat score’. This may be fair enough for beef cattle but Ruth’s cows were all dairy breeds or dairy-cross, which can never acquire the shape of beef cattle, no matter how well-fed they are.

From March through to June the cows continued to improve.  Cows which she had successfully nursed through pregnancy toxaemia, which occurs during drought, recovered and produced healthy calves without the need of veterinary assistance, or any help from Ruth.

When RSPCA visited Ruth in May, and stated that this was their final visit, the whole family heaved a sigh of relief. Common sense at last.

On 14 June 2007 Ruth had fed her cows with a protein supplement  and was dressed ready to go to Tamworth for a dental appointment.  She had prepared detailed instructions for her sister, on a neighbouring property, to complete the feeding a little later. Ruth was about to have breakfast.

Without any warning whatsoever the cavalcade rolled up bent on destruction. The RSPCA ‘Inspector’ shot 48 of her cattle, using a high-powered rifle.

RSPCA Australia has guidelines for humane killing which state that large animals should be humanely killed by firing one bullet directly into the vital spot in the head.  A second bullet is fired only to ensure that the animal is definitely dead.

Many of Ruth’s cattle were shot from the side. Several managed to rise again after being hit. Some received 4 bullets.  The carnage went on for most of the day as many cows put up resistance, one even going through two fences before being shot.

Ruth’s family, indeed the whole community, was shocked. No-one could believe that RSPCA would shoot healthy cattle that Ruth had looked after so well and so lovingly throughout those long, unrelenting drought years. But it happened.

Ruth’s  cattle, though lean, had shiny coats and bright eyes.  They chewed the cud contentedly. The 13 mothers that were shot had plenty of milk for their baby calves – some only 3 days old, and all others under 4 weeks. The calves were contented and full of life. The mothers were also contented and licked their calves fondly.

On 14 June 2007 RSPCA photographed the cows only after they were shot and after their stomachs had been punctured to deflate their bodies.

RSPCA charges, if successful, lead to the owner being fingerprinted and branded a criminal. Heavy fines and/or a gaol sentence are imposed and RSPCA then claims the cost of all their expenses. In Ruth’s case these would include thousands of dollars for the burial of her healthy cattle.

Why are RSPCA charges, which can totally ruin a person’s life, heard only by a magistrate? A jury should be an essential component of a criminal trial.

The gang, including two vets, left late in the afternoon. Not one person in the entire gang enquired if Ruth had any substitute milk for these little calves, which had been chased around all day, as they attempted to go through the gate after their dead mothers. Of course she had nothing to feed them with: their mothers had cared for them completely. These massacred mothers included three of the four that Ruth had nursed through pregnancy toxaemia.

Rain has fallen since this appalling slaughter. Ruth could have been in a good financial position now. Instead she faces a costly court case, having been charged with aggravated cruelty and failing to feed and water her cattle. This is ludicrous. It is so ludicrous that RSPCA is employing SENIOR COUNSEL  as well as their regular solicitor and barrister.

What kind of country has Australia become?
The banner above shows the little calves two weeks after the killing of their mothers. By this time they had lost some of their good condition due to the trauma they had been through and the changeover to formula instead of  natural milk.  Ruth had to teach them how to bottle feed – an onorous job with 13 of them.

A local farmer generously donated $500 worth of calf pellets.
The photograph below, taken on 3 July 2007, shows some of  the calves drinking from  the “calfeteria”, donated by one of Ruth’s many supporters.

Calves drinking 2/07/07