Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | October 4, 2011

sheep theft

Just shearing this (sic) sharing this press release from Federated Farmers, which is no laughing matter.


Mackenzie sheep ‘stolen for a particular market’

The manager of Ribbonwood Station at Omarama has requested all media inquiries relating to the theft of 200 pregnant ewes, be directed to Federated Farmers.

“I would ask the media to please speak with Federated Farmers,” said the manager of Ribbonwood Station.

 “I can confirm we have laid a complaint with the Police regarding this theft. It’s a major financial blow.

“On 26 August we undertook a stock count but by 15 September, when we’d brought our sheep in for pre-lamb shearing, we’d lost 200 ewes.   

“Speaking to neighbouring farmers, it seems around 600 stock have been stolen over the past three years.  That’s concerning,” the manager said.

 Federated Farmers believes the resources needed to steal 200 in-lamb ewes, around two percent of the sheep run on Ribbonwood Station, indicates a degree of
sophistication. “Stock are clearly being stolen for a particular market given they’re in-lamb ewes. I would remind farmers to only use reputable suppliers when purchasing stock,” commented Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson. 

“The number of ewes stolen needed a stock truck, musterers and dogs.  You are talking about a sizeable and sophisticated operation. It
underscores why our rural security spokesperson, David Rose, is currently finalising a letter of agreement with the Police.  

“Yet the Police need help from those who live in rural areas.  We’re asking people to be extra vigilant because these stock will have been moved somewhere. 
If merino ewes appear on a block, as if from nowhere, it may well be worth calling you local Police.   

“If stock are legitimate, there will be a paper trail.  We’d also ask farmers to keep an eye out for unknown stock agents offering capital stock.  

“For farmers concerned about theft please work with your neighbours.  Record license plate numbers or take photographs of people or vehicles acting suspiciously.

“Above all, we need farmers to do what Ribbonwood Station did and that’s to report stock theft to the Police.  This helps the Police assess the scale of the
problem because stock theft is a serious crime. 

“Federated Farmers is working with the Police to improve rural security because we all need to work together to combat rural crime,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.



  1. Whilst not casting aspersions on the Ribbonwood stock loss it is very difficult for the police to get a handle on some reported “stock thefts”

    I relate an incident from Muldoons “skinnysheep scheme” where in response to a crash in farm gross income the wizard Muldoon concocted a budget measure where the taxpayers paid a sum of one dollar per head of sheep owned on balance date to all farmers. c1983?
    This wave of a wand had vast repercussions as the innovative made all sorts of measures to maximise the number of qualifying stock while complying with rudimentary audit measures.
    A neighbour of ours at the time reported a theft of 160 Drysdale hoggets he was hoping to get the bounty on but were unable to be counted on June 30th as they had gone the way of Monty Pythons “Norwegian Blue”, from a bareland block a Km or so from our property.
    The police doing an investigation duly rang me to ask if I could cast any light on the matter. He was a sergeant with zero understanding of livestock farming practice and it was obvious.
    That autumn had been very trying with a late summer drought and a serious problem of malnutrition and heavy worm burdens claiming quite large numbers of youg stock when management was not appropriate and in this case that was the fact for these 160 “stolen” sheep.
    I asked the Serge had they made an inspection of the subject land, he replied in the negative so I suggested he do that with a pitch fork and pay particular attention to any cover where sheep seeking shade might congregate and use the fork to count skulls as I was sure all the 160 were still present. I added that anyone wishing to steal sheep would have much better pickings on other properties nearby.
    Sergeant Plod thanked me for my input and that was it for those who lived in the district, nothing more was heard. I do not know if the complainant ever received his $160 but he went down the gurgler soon after and was last heard of mowing lawns on the Gold Coast.

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