Charles Darwin University’s teaching facility at Mataranka Station is currently the subject of some serious claims.
A number of images of distressed livestock, which were taken at the Station some months ago, have been circulating for the past week along with false claims that the university has not addressed the problem.
The images were taken toward the end of the Northern Territory dry season in 2009 when a small proportion of the Station’s 4500-strong herd were found to be in extremely poor condition.
The animals’ state was caused by the prevailing environmental conditions and calving out of season. Some of the problems experienced by the animals, however, were due to poor herd management and CDU deeply regrets this.
CDU acted as soon as it became aware of the problem in September 2009, but the university's response should have been more robust. The university regrets not doing more to address the problem at the time.
In the past four months animal welfare inspectors from NT Government agencies, the CDU Animal Research Ethics Committee, and an independent expert have inspected the animals and made recommendations to improve their condition and station management.
Each of their recommendations has been acted on, a new animal management plan is in place and the herd’s condition continues to improve.
Spot checks of the station will continue to be made throughout 2010 and an independent pastoral specialist will make monthly assessments of the station’s management improvement plan.