Farmers encouraged to open homes to drought-hit Australians

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 10, 2018

There have been reports of farmers shooting cattle and hand-feeding animals because the ground is too dry for grass to grow.

A smattering of rain earlier this week did little to ease one of the driest starts to the year on record, turning pastures to dust and destroying huge areas of grazing and crop lands.

The sight of wide expanses of dry earth greets farmers every day around the state.

"Anybody on the land that will make a phone call to the Department of Environment can get permission to shoot nearly whatever they want to shoot and it's unaudited and unchecked and that's our concern - animal welfare", Borda told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

What is drought and when is it declared?

Conditions are similarly dire in Queensland to the north, where the state government says almost 60 percent of land is suffering drought conditions.

CANBERRA: Animal welfare concerns have been raised after farmers in Australia's most populous state were allowed to shoot kangaroos in order to keep them from starving to death.

Australia has long dealt with harsh, dry conditions, especially inland, away from coastal areas popular with tourists.

"We are looking at all the options if we need them", she said.

The Sunday Telegraph this week reported the federal government will give hardest-hit farmers $12,000 in two lum-sum payments from September in addition to a modest welfare payment of $295 welfare payment.

There was also cash for counselling and mental health services, with drought-related stress and even suicide a mounting concern, compounded by the isolation many feel on their remote properties.

The federal and NSW state governments are providing more than A$1.5 billion (S$1.52 billion) in drought relief packages, created to offset the cost of feed and freight, and increase access to mental health services for farmers feeling the strain. "They didn't act fast enough", Col Barton, whose family has been on their farm east of Gunnedah since 1938, told AFP.

Southern Australia has experienced near-record levels of dry weather; rainfall has been 57mm below average for the time of year.

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