WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES: As farmers farewell the driest July NSW has endured in 16 years, an exhausted woman has shared a heartbreaking glimpse into the pain and suffering the drought has inflicted.
Kellie Madden has done her utmost to remain positive through the crippling drought that is now plaguing 99 per cent of the state, but when she came across her exhausted ewes bloodied and disfigured, she had to vent.
“I’m sick. Sick with the flu, sick of all of this. I don’t want to drive around the paddocks today, yesterday was hard, every day is hard,” she wrote in an emotional Facebook post.
“I’m off work because of the wretched flu, wish I could take a day off from this.
“Our ewes are lambing, poor girls, most are so weak once they are down they can’t get up.”
She said she and her husband, Trevor Watson, were feeding them everything they could afford but nothing seemed to be working.
On Tuesday, as she reluctantly made her way through the paddocks, she discovered “two old girls” that had just given birth. Both had been badly injured from a crow attack, one even missing an eye.
“I don’t have the heart to kill anything so I pick them up and put them in the back of the Ute and take them home to the ‘hospital’,” she wrote.
“One came good, the other had been down for a while, crows got part of leg as well as an eye.”
She added that something else had already taken the lambs.
She reluctantly waited for Trevor to return from work where he had been shearing all day to “put the poor girl out of her misery”.
“I curse myself I didn’t have the guts to do it myself and save him some pain and heartache,” Kellie added.
“I carry around my grandmother’s old gun hoping to see an unsuspecting crow, it gives me some strength, she used to shoot rabbits with it back in the day when times were tough to feed her family. She was stronger than me, wish I could be more like her.
“Time to do another drive around I suppose. Damn this bloody drought.”
The dry conditions prompted the NSW government earlier this week to commit an extra $500 million towards a drought relief package, including $190 million in transport subsidies.
PETA blames farmers for animal deaths during drought
Earlier this week animal rights group PETA lashed out at drought-stricken farmers, saying it is their own fault that they’ve been forced to slaughter their starving animals.
One day after the NSW government announced they would be doubling their drought relief fund to $1 billion, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals published an article with the headline, “If you can’t feed them don’t breed them”.
“Farmers are complaining that the big dry means that they have to kill animals prematurely and for no money,” the article read.
“From the farmers’ perspective, the problem is not that they have to kill animals – since they were going to do that anyway – but that they’re not getting paid to do so.”