A Slow Death

Oil on canvas
100cm x 120cm

He stands tall and alone; a giant among men. Years of battle and balance with nature, the bank, bureaucracy and the dogs have all taken their toll. His wife has gone. Stress and heartbreak have become too much to bear. He continues on; exhausted but not yet defeated. The Black dog lurks in the shadows, eager for him to surrender. Farming life in Australia is a far cry from the lush green fields of Gainsborough’s England. The landed gentry and their decadent rural lifestyles are but a distant memory from this sunburnt landscape. In Australia, sheep graziers lose on average one hundred sheep every year to wild dogs, with devastating impacts on their livelihood and wellbeing. Both the graziers and their livestock suffer trauma. Ninety per cent of stock are not killed but are severely wounded and left to die a slow and agonising death. They are the playthings of the wild dogs. Baiting has become the main form of eradication of the dogs, but this has its problems. It is slow to kill and is often consumed by native animals or domestic pets. Wild dogs are estimated to cost the Australian agricultural industry approximately $90million a year. The challenges for the grazier continue.

As a daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and great-great-granddaughter of grazier’s, I know all too well, that it’s a slow death for the sheep; a slow death for the wild dogs and slow death for graziers.