Producer concerned about welfare perception

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Pip Bain.
Camera IconPip Bain. Credit: Justine Rowe

Animal welfare has always been front and centre for livestock producers like Pip Bain.

A love for the industry meant the 27-year-old returned to the family property, 60km south-east of Geraldton, this year.

She runs up to 1000 head of cattle with her father Grant Bain across 1700ha of land on a rotational grazing system.

Together, the pair source pastoral cattle and prepare them for live export at their farm.

They also have 250 Charolais Brahman breeders for feedlots.

It’s a good time to be in cattle, Ms Bain said, with prices looking good and the father-daughter-team in good stead in terms of pasture growth and rainfall.

But the mass stock deaths at two Aboriginal-owned cattle stations in WA’s north have her concerned about the public perception of Australia’s $17 billion livestock industry.

With the spotlight shining firmly on live export, Ms Bain said the northern animal welfare disasters came at a time when graziers were trying to put their best foot forward.

“Everyone else is doing a good job, these circumstances are definitely the exception,” she said.

“We don’t engage in good animal welfare because we are being told to, we do it because we want to ... because we care about our stock.”

The Bains have a solid understanding of how things work in the pastoral regions.

They owned the sprawling Mt Clere station for three generations before moving to Walkaway, near Geraldton, in 2002.

With only 200mm of average rainfall, they’ve experienced plenty of heartbreakingly dry seasons in the Gascoyne.

Even now, the cattle they source to fatten up from pastoral areas can be a real “mixed bag”, in terms of weight and muscle.

But Mr Bain said there was “no excuse” for not giving water to stock. He said it was imperative for pastoralists to call shots early.

“There is no excuse,” he said.

“It is sheer bad management, and just not necessary (for cattle to die of dehydration).

“With the technology available, there is no excuse for cattle running out of water.”

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