Farmers in the Australian state of Victoria have started a massive slaughter of cattle which they cannot afford to feed.
LV & CU Cattle in pens being shot (2 shots)
LV PAN FROM Line of vehicles TO Dead cattle in trench
CU Dead cattle put into trench (2 shots)
CU Another beast shot and rolled into trench
CU Two farmers speaking
SV & LV More cattle slaughtered (2 shots)
This film is serviced with speech by two Australian farmers. A transcript follows:
FIRST FARMER: "Over the years I've been one of the people that's had to collect money for Freedom from Hunger and here we are putting food, good food, down a hole, putting dirt over it."
SECOND FARMER: "I'd much rather get money out of them than see them wasted like this. It's the only alternative we've got, I can't see any other alternative, unfortunately. There've been a lot of good cattle put down here too from what I've seen."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Farmers in the Australian state of Victoria have started a massive slaughter of cattle which they cannot afford to feed. As many as 250,000 head of stock will be shot and buried because of drought and the worst rural recession in 40 years.
Although some are healthy, tens of thousands of beasts are in an emaciated, unmarketable condition and the Victorian State Government is paying a destruction fee of about GBP 3 sterling (5.50 U.S. dollars) for every one the farmers slaughter. The first mass shooting was held at Tongala, 130 miles (210 kilometres) north of Melbourne, the Victorian state capital.
Groups in all parts of Australia are protesting against the slaughter, saying that with starvation rife in many parts of the world, the meat should be made available for export to needy counties. However, farmers say they cannot afford to feed the cattle or pay for them to be marketed.
The farmers see two advantages to slaughtering the cattle ... they will be removing uneconomical stock from barren pastures - and they expect low beef prices to rise. At present, the State Government destruction fee is more than four times the price farmers can expect if they sell some cattle. As well as record low prices, farm costs have risen by 300 percent.