Over two million cattle and eight million sheep could be affected by the ongoing bushfires in Australia. It is estimated that more than eight million sheep and two million cattle could be caught up in the current bushfire crisis across the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria. According to analysts from Australia’s Mecardo, specialised in the cattle, lamb, grain and wool markets, 8.6 million sheep representing 12% of the national flock, and 2.3 million cattle representing 9% of the national herd, are farmed in areas affected by the bushfires, which seem to have no end in sight.

The biggest cattle population within fire-affected regions is said to be located in the NSW Northern Tablelands, which is home to 690,000 head. The NSW Central Tablelands has 445,000 cattle, ahead of southeast NSW (379,000), Victoria’s North East (367,000), the NSW Hunter (362,000), East Gippsland (106,000). Local media have reported how a farmer was obliged to end the suffering of several cattle by shooting the injured animals.

Agriculture Victoria (AV), a commercial interface between the department and private industry, has declared a ‘State of Disaster’ for six local government areas and has encouraged livestock owners affected by the fires to report any livestock injuries. AV staff have so far conducted more than 50 initial assessments at affected properties and will continue to work with landholders to assess injured livestock. “In many cases farmers are still waiting to get access to their properties, but it’s important once they do, they examine livestock quickly and report any injuries to Agriculture Victoria”, said the organisation in a statement, adding that “landholders do not need to wait for Agriculture Victoria staff to visit to euthanise impacted livestock if they are confident they can do so humanely and safely”.