Just to set things right, we call it cattle duffing in the outback not cattle rustling. Cattle duffing is regarded as Australia’s second oldest industry. I’ll let you figure out which is the oldest.
Cattle duffing is still as relevant today as it was in the wild colonial days. In fact, it is on the rise in rural Australia despite the fact that it is harder to steal cattle now then one hundred years ago. The Australian state of Queensland has a police unit specifically devoted to stock theft which is aptly titled, The Stock Squad.
Apparently, ice-addicts in rural towns are duffing livestock from farms in their desperate desire to fund their addiction. I read one recent story about a grazier who left his cattle station for a week to attend a wedding and returned to find that nearly one million dollars of his live stock had been stolen. At one thousand dollars a head, cattle duffing is seen as a lucrative criminal activity.
My father once told me that Uncle Jack and he were once boundary riding around our station when they caught the next door neighbours helping themselves to our cattle. Uncle Jack and dad blew their stacks and actually pulled rifles on them. Uncle Jack threatened to shoot them if he ever caught them again. I dare say he would have.
In the outback, cattle duffers will meet with swift justice, if the law is looking the other way or the law is a hundred miles away. Cattle duffing is taken very seriously in the outback..