Australia’s ongoing drought has New South Wales farmers claiming a shortage of bullets to euthanase emaciated stock.
Sheep and cattle graziers are selling stock at a rapid rate, while others are shooting dead those deemed too weak to be transported to market.
Mobile butcher Drew Shearman told ABC he’s been working around the clock trying to help farmers in the Hunter.
“It is quite dramatic how the landscape has changed in the area in the last 12 months,” Mr Shearman said.
“Usually when I call my friend at the farm I ask him ‘is there anything I can pick up for him on the way?’ Usually it’s a length of steel or a special tool, a tube, or liquid steel.
“This time the request was simply bullets. He had five bullets left in total, the rest had been used to euthanase injured or sick sheep.”
An Australian farmer is to cull his entire 1,200-strong flock and give up farming, as the drought takes over, killing up to ten sheep on the 670-ha farm every day. https://t.co/wdqPNianEc
— thatsfarming.com (@thatsfarming) July 26, 2018
The Upper Hunter candidate for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, John Preston, called the drought a ‘natural disaster’.
“It is a financial catastrophe on an industrial scale as well. Remember, farm security is food security and food security is national security.
“The National Party and the Government are placing this state’s food security in jeopardy.”
NSW farmers desperately seeking feed from all over Australia as the drought deepens. NSW grains trader Duncan Whittle said: "The bulk handling system has very little grain left in it." – @abcnews https://t.co/pgFhZoIkQI pic.twitter.com/rPApRzvwE4
— AgriWebb (@AgriWebb) July 27, 2018
In this year’s state budget, the NSW government almost doubled the funding that drought-affected farmers would be able to receive.
The package covered low interest loans, mental health support and kangaroo management.
Farmers are praying the Government will announce further help, specifically with freight subsidies, at their annual conference in Sydney this week.
Historical data links Australian droughts to solar output
In 2018, NSW has recorded its lowest rainfall in a five-month period since 1900.
That takes us back to the Centennial Minimum and the last time the sun experienced an extended period of reduced activity.
We’re now transitioning out of solar cycle 24 (the lowest cycle since 14, 1902-1913), and into cycle 25 which, according to even the most optimistic predictions, will see a further 30% reduction.
If cycle 25’s forecast are anywhere near the mark, more and more farmers will undoubtedly lose this fight.
The resulting impact on global food supplies will rock our modern civilisation.
[Featured Photo: Sam Ruttyn]