News & Media

Cattle poisoning case a reminder to ensure stock do not have access to batteries

Released on

Released on:
Tuesday, 15. September 2020 - 9:30

Producers are reminded to remove or fence off items containing lead from grazing paddocks following several recent cattle deaths on two South-West properties.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) veterinary officer Kevin Hepworth said three calves from one property and eight steers from another had died from lead poisoning after being exposed to old and burnt lead batteries.

“Stock owners should be aware that batteries, particularly burnt ones, old machinery, sump oil and painted items are all sources of lead and present both a risk of poisoning and residues,” Dr Hepworth said.

“Owners are reminded to ensure they carry out a property risk assessment that identifies possible lead sources on-farm.

“These lead sources should then be permanently fenced off or removed from the farm.”

Dr Hepworth said cattle tended to have the highest risk of lead poisoning because of their inquisitive nature and their tendency to ‘taste test’ items.

“Animals affected by lead poisoning may become blind, unresponsive to their surroundings or stumble into fences or other obstacles, and die,” Dr Hepworth said.

“Other livestock that have eaten lead may show no signs of ill-health, but these animals are quarantined by DPIRD until laboratory testing has confirmed the animals are free of residues.

“Preventing residues in meat and meat products is critical for human food safety and WA’s ongoing access to valuable export markets.”

For more information visit the DPIRD webpage or contact your local DPIRD veterinary officer or private veterinarian.

Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison             +61 (0)8 9368 3937