Vet confronted with dire reality following floods
IT WOULD make anyone with a heart shudder.
For one Toogoolawah veterinarian, the scene was unimaginable.
Having built a career around saving the lives of animals, Bill Roughan found himself face to face with an awful reality: animals - dying, diseased, and decomposing - everywhere he looked.
Practising as a vet in Charters Towers 20 years earlier prompted Dr Roughan to help in the wake of the floods up north so he set off to Cloncurry.
"I saw the amount of dead cattle and it pulled on the heart strings a bit,” he said.
"I thought 'I can sit here and make phone calls or I can jump on a plane and get up there for a week and try to make a difference'.”
He flew north, working alongside a team of other vets in the area.
Despite his best efforts, Dr Roughan couldn't save the flood-affected cattle.
"All the cattle that were sick are now dead,” he said.
Dr Roughan described the aftermath as a three-stage event.
"Day two, all the wildlife died, all the kangaroos died, the emus died. Just from the cold shock. It was 15 degrees for four days in a row. But the wind was sitting at about 50 or 60km an hour with constant rain,”
"All the animals were soaking wet, their feet were wet,” he said.
"And at 15 degrees, they just simply died of hypothermia.”
He heard stories of cattle who were fine one night only to be discovered dead the next morning by graziers.
In total, Dr Roughan estimates between 300,000 and 500,000 animal deaths in the flood.
"There's not a lot now we can do other than advise people on strategies to try and minimise further losses,” he said.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington praised Mr Roughan's efforts, calling him a true Queensalnder.
"(He) is a vet from Toogoolawah who has come to north west simply to help where he can,” she said.
"I've been in north west the past couple of days, listening to incredible stories from extraordinary Queenslanders working to save their livestock and livelihoods.”