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Emaciated sheep at saleyards prompts warning

STOCK owners are being urged to seek advice from biosecurity experts following the discovery of 12 severely malnourished sheep at the Camden Saleyards recently.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services Biosecurity Manager Graham Wilson said his staff had uncovered the animals during a routine audit of the saleyard.

“This situation could have been avoided if the owner had sought advice through us or his local vet, our staff are always available to support landholders and are happy to do farm visits if required.

“These sheep had no fat, very little muscle and protruding spine and pelvic bones,” Mr Wilson said. “Stock in this condition are highly prone to disease and death.

“Our staff work to support producers and stock owners to ensure all animals offered for sale are healthy and have the necessary documentation. This is to protect our agriculture industry against the threat of disease and ensure a safe, quality product reaches our dinner tables.

“We are urging people to seek advice from our staff if they have any questions, concerns or doubts about raising healthy livestock or the selling process. A Local Land Services officer attends the Camden saleyards every week to provide this sort of expert assistance and advice.

“It is essential producers observe their animals carefully before transport for health and injury which may make them unfit for the journey,” he said.

Transport and Livestock Standards were revised by Meat and Livestock Australia and implemented in NSW in October 2012.

Industry guidelines indicate an animal is unfit for any type of land transport if it:

  • is not strong enough to undertake the journey,
  • cannot walk normally, bearing weight on all legs,
  • is severely emaciated or visibly dehydrated,
  • is suffering from severe visible distress or injury,
  • is in a condition that could cause it increased pain or distress during transport,
  • is blind in both eyes, or
  • is in late pregnancy.

For further advice and information contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or visit

Media contact: Nikki McGrath (02) 4724 2138 M: 0448 953 755