Australian dairy cattle imports end in a disaster
Posted on April 6th, 2019

Courtesy The Island

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has last week run a news documentary presented as an “exclusive” with investigative reporting from its South Asia Correspondent about Australian cattle exported to Sri Lanka dying and being malnourished.

The report said that about 500 Australian and New Zealand dairy cows, shipped to Sri Lanka, under an AUD 100 million loan underwritten by the Australian government had died. Vivid visuals of dying, dead and malnourished cows were part of the documentary.

This subject got an airing in Parliament last week during the committee stage discussion on the budget. “Angry Sri Lankan farmers have told the ABC the ‘high yielding, pregnant dairy cows’ they were promised were over-priced, unhealthy and infertile and 10 percent of the 5,000 cattle imported so far had died and many were diseased.

However, a spokesman for West Australian live export company responsible for the animals said that only a ‘handful’ of 68 farmers selected to receive the cattle had problems attributed to their ignoring herd management advice that had been given.

He claimed that the animals were checked be veterinarians both at the Australian and Sri Lanka ends and alleged bad management practices.

A further 15,000 cattle are due under the scheme and there is pressure that it be stopped. However, under terms of the agreement covering the deal it must be concluded some reports said.

One dairy farmer who had been affected had reportedly committed suicide.

Amal Suriyage, owner of a dairy farm at Lammermoor Estate, Hapugastenne, had said that he lost about 160 cows and 180 calves at his dairy farm. He said that he would have to cull the remaining 40 animals as some had a highly contagious disease.

He was quoted in the program saying “What I have now are carcasses of those dead cows and calves. I think I have a cemetery, not a farm anymore.”

Suriyage who has gone to PRECIFAC, the sitting Presidential Commission on Fraud and Abuse of State Power, alleged that he had been threatened.

The deal to bring the 20,000 cows was entered into by the previous regime but implementer by the current incumbents.

One Response to “Australian dairy cattle imports end in a disaster”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    So both regimes are at fault.

    Whose idiotic idea was it to bring Australian and New Zealand cows to Sri Lanka when we have our own cow varieties? Climatic conditions vastly differ.

    Hopefully the presidential commission of inquiry will get to the bottom of this and punish the culprits.

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