• Emilie Dye

When bureaucrats just follow the herd, they end up treating us like sheep

Updated: May 19, 2021

According to Service NSW, Victorian farmers will only be able to get their lambs to market when sheep fly.

When bureaucrats just follow the herd, they end up treating us like sheep


According to Service NSW, Victorian farmers will only be able to get their lambs to market when sheep fly.


Shirley Sprenger Cheshire, a sheep producer, called Service NSW to enquire about to getting a permit to move her sheep across the border.


Unfortunately, the sheep are currently located a few hundred metres outside the border zone. As a result, Service NSW is requiring the sheep to use the designated port of entry: Sydney Airport. 


Sydney based bureaucrats don’t see anything odd about loading 40 sheep onto an aeroplane in Melbourne, flying them to Sydney, then driving them to Corowa Sheep Yards on the border of Victoria. Our draconian COVID-19 restrictions have entered and ventured well into the realm of the ridiculous.


They say sheep don’t think for themselves instead just following the herd.

But it appears Service NSW is no different just following the rule book. Lockdown regulations have gotten out of hand. Instead of implementing policies to keep us safe, NSW regulators are making sheep farmers jump through impossible hoops because of an arbitrary line drawn on a map.


Those working in Sydney offices likely don’t understand the practical implications of life on a farm and with livestock. What looks good on paper is often impossible when you are talking about living animals.


It is, to say the least, inconvenient to force sheep farmer to drive their animals 6 hours to a city airport, fly them to another city airport, and then drive them to a location only a few kilometres from where they originally started. But more importantly, its unlikely all 40 sheep would survive the stress of such a trip.


Service NSW is effectively mandating animal abuse. 


Farmers have had it hard enough. We have shut down rural communities even though regional areas are hardly hotspots. Those in these border areas have to travel hours to obtain basic services because they live on the wrong side of a random line.


If we want to keep our supermarket shelves stocked with fresh meat, we need to rethink these regulations. 


Sheep aren’t COVID-19 superspreaders. 


One person with a dog could easily transport 40 head of sheep from rural Victoria to rural NSW without breaking social distancing requirements. But Service NSW by refusing to issue a permit is asking these farmers to put dozens of people at risk and to travel through highly populated areas. 


Its time the Australian government put more faith in individual Australians to do the right thing. They are smarter than sheep and a lot smarter than your average bureaucrat. The rules don’t save lives, people making good commonsense decisions do. 


The article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph 19 August 2020.

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