Hundreds of sheep perish after two trucks crash in one day

File image of a rollover in 2009.
File image of a rollover in 2009.

Two trucks carrying hundreds of sheep rolled in western Victoria on the one day this week, throwing the safety of live animal transportation under the spotlight.

It began when a single semi truck lost control and flipped on Pitfield-Scarsdale Road in Piggoreet, southwest of Ballarat, about 10.20am on Monday.

The truck was carrying 370 sheep and around 180 were killed on impact or had to be euthanased, according to Agriculture Victoria.

Ditchy's view.

Ditchy's view.

Later in the day, a B-double truck crashed on the Wimmera Highway in Quantong, west of Horsham, about 10pm.

It was carrying 640 sheep and 220 were killed following the incident, authorities said.

Two cows also died in the rollover.

Hundreds of dead sheep line a road after a truck rollover in Piggoreet, southwest of Ballarat, on Monday morning.

Hundreds of dead sheep line a road after a truck rollover in Piggoreet, southwest of Ballarat, on Monday morning.

Animal activists travelled to the crash site in Piggoreet and filmed dying sheep, taking to social media to share the footage.

“It was a horrible scene to witness,” Ballarat activist Karina Rasmussen said on Tuesday.

But industry representatives hit back, saying “nobody wants to have a rollover”.

Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria president Graham Howell said two rollovers carrying livestock in the one day was uncommon.

“If a company has a rollover it could be up to 12 months of work gone down the drain because of the time the vehicle is off the road,” he said.

“The livestock don’t end up going to market or an abattoir and (it affects) the farmer who owns the stock.”

Mr Howell’s association offers courses for truck drivers to help avoid rollovers.

An authorised trainer, who is accredited by VicRoads, visits locations throughout regional Victoria to educate drivers in groups of 10.

“It is not an easy job and livestock have a mind of their own,” Mr Howell said.

“A lot of the facilities we load at are not great.”