LOCAL farmer, veterinarian and cattle specialist Dr Jakob Malmo has expressed his concerns about delays in getting into fire affected zones to treat animals.
Dr Malmo said, like a lot of farmers, he was irate about the way the media was granted entry to fire affected zones while he and other vets and agencies such as DPI, who wanted to aide the emergency effort by tending to animals were not permitted.
Dr Malmo said the pressure felt by farmers, in being away from their properties, was great. He said most just wanted to know whether their livestock was lost, injured or burnt so they could either help them or put them out of their misery.
Dr Malmo said he was turned away at road blocks on three separate occasions, and wasn’t able to access his property until late Saturday night, returning Sunday because it was too dark to complete necessary tasks.
There he discovered one of his cows was dead and several others were injured.While he understood the need to focus on human safety, Dr Malmo said the welfare of animals and livestock should have been taken more seriously, especially in instances where animals could have been in great pain.
He believes veterinarians, and in some instances farmers, should be considered in line with emergency personal when it came to assessing the damage to their livestock and land once fires had passed.
Dr Malmo said his neighbour’s animals, who he helped to put down Sunday, suffered unnecessarily due to the constant delays.
Dr Malmo said he was going to lobby for changes to the roadblock system, through farming organisations, to get veterinarians access to sick and injured animals.
He said, though his actions cannot change what has happened during the week he wants to make things more reasonable in the future.
For a feature story about Jakob Malmo, read Friday’s Gippsland Times.