Rustling around the world

You might think that the days of stealing cattle and sheep were over, that was just in the western movies. Sadly that theft is going on around the world. The rewards are great if you can move the merchandise, but it takes some skill and a lot of equipment.  Jonathan Fortin woke up Friday morning to check on his herd of Black Angus cattle, only to find his field was empty. Fortin, said he initially thought his calves and cows might have got loose, but the presence of tire tracks and a fence that appeared to have been dismantled led him to conclude that something more sinister had occurred. “All my herd — close to 75 animals — were stolen,” he said in an interview Monday. Quebec provincial police confirmed they’re investigating what appears to be a case of modern cattle rustling. Police spokesman Louis-Philippe Ruel confirmed police opened a criminal investigation after arriving at the farm in Cookshire-Eaton, Quebec on Friday and finding the cattle had “disappeared.” Ruel didn’t say how police were planning to retrace the herd, but he noted the thieves would need to have access to equipment and a place to put the animals. Fortin figures the cattle were taken between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, while he was out working his second job. He said neighbors later reported seeing trailer lights and hearing a commotion in his field, but at the time they assumed it was buyers coming to pick up cattle. He said the loss of about $200,000 worth of livestock represents a good portion of his savings and four hard years of work building up his farm.

Depending on your point of view, Waltzing Matilda should be either the national anthem or declared Australia’s creepiest song. It is true that ballads about homeless people who steal sheep and then drown themselves while being chased by police are not usually the stuff of children’s songs.  In February this year, 700 sheep worth $140,000 were allegedly stolen from a farm west of Bendigo in Victoria. In March, a farmer west of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales reported 350 sheep were missing, the majority about to have lambs, making them even more valuable in a strong sheep market. The tendency of farmers not to report livestock theft means we do not have accurate figures, but the estimated losses are significant.

The national farm crime survey showed only 35% of livestock theft was reported to police. Using this figure, PWC estimated total cattle theft at about 31,000 a year. Dr Kyle Mulrooney, co-director of the Centre for Rural Criminology, says stock theft is quite commonplace in Australia. About 40% of farmers have been the victims of stock theft and 80% have experienced general farm crime. “If you’re worth your salt and you can muster quick and you’ve got good dogs, you’re gonna get in and out of there in literally no time,” he says. “Eighty per cent of farmers and ranchers say that they’re responsible for preventing farm crime. Which is interesting because you have people in the city and they say, no, the police should make me safe.” Modern solutions suggest there may be hope in technologies similar to facial recognition for sheep and cattle. One University of New England PhD student developed “Stoktake,” an AI-powered platform that identifies animals via their muzzle, which is as individual as a human fingerprint.

Rustler rumors

How do ranchers keep track of all their cows?
They keep a cattle-log. 

Reports coming in of mass sheep rustling.
Suspects on the lamb.

After a massive storm, ranchers in Texas are now looking for their lost cattle.
Surprisingly, they found six of them on YouTube.  

Before a burglary trial the judge explained to the defendant, “You can let me try your case, or you can choose to have a jury of your peers.” The man thought for a moment, “What are peers?” he asked. “They are people just like you, your equals.” “Forget it,” retorted the defendant. “I don’t want to be tried by a bunch of thieves.” 

May 29th Birthdays

1993 – Maika Monroe, 1990 – Riley Keough, 1961 – Melissa Etheridge, 1963 – Lisa Whelchel

1903 – Bob Hope, 1984 – Carmelo Anthony, 1914 – Tenzing Norgay, 1917 – John Kennedy

Morning Motivator: