A north Queensland couple has been left baffled by a bizarre finding on their property, which seems like something straight from a horror film.
Graziers Mick and Judy Cook were working on their property in Cloverly, north-west of Mackay, when Mr Cook noticed a dead cow carcass which appeared to have had its body mutilated, with its entire udder, ears and tongue removed.
Warning: This story contains images and content that some readers may find disturbing.
“It was like it had been surgically removed, I certainly couldn’t do as neat a job with a very sharp knife, and it definitely wasn’t an animal,” Mr Cook said.
“I thought at first it might have been poisoned, but then I got closer … I saw the body parts missing, there was no blood, even where the parts had been removed, no sign of struggle, just dead.
© ABC Tropical North: Kim Kleidon
“There was just no reason or rhyme for it to be done the way it was done, people don’t use those parts, it’s just not something you would wish on your worst enemy.”
On the same trip, Mr Cook said he travelled down a little further on his property, about an hour’s drive from his house on rough terrain, when he found another dead cow.
The second one looked like it had been there for some time.
“By that point we are probably two hours from your nearest neighbour, it’s very mountainous country … there’s no way anyone can get there unless they come straight past our house.
“When I got down there I noticed another carcass, this one was a bit more deteriorated, looked like it had been rotting there for a bit.
“We don’t know how it happened, but we got onto the neighbours just to let them know.”
Local veterinarian David Lemmon said in his 40 years working in the industry, often with livestock, he had never heard of or seen anything like it.
“I deal with everything, you know – all creatures great and small. And I can’t think of any explanation for it, that’s not normal human behaviour is it? That’s something quite bizarre and ill, I would say the person that has done that is not mentally stable.
“We’re talking eyes, we’re talking ears, we’re talking udders. No, I’ve never heard of anything like that ever, that’s something or someone very ill who’s done that.”
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In a statement, Queensland Police said it had not been notified about the cow mutilations, however, Mr and Mrs Cook said they had attempted to contact local police unsuccessfully.
Not the first sighting
According to Mr Cook, he and his wife came across two dead cows with their udders removed around the same area about ten years prior.
“I didn’t think much about it at the time, we didn’t really say anything about it,” he said.
“We just thought it was a bit strange, let it go and put it to the back of our minds.
“But when we saw it again just recently we decided to tell someone, we came back later and my daughter tried to do some research, she found a YouTube link to other similar stories.
“They basically said other people around the world have been finding similar cases since ’75 and starting in Yankeeland, it’s even left police confused.”
Cases of cow mutilation and murders have been reported around the world for over four decades, with carcasses found, sometimes one or two, sometimes dozens, with body parts such as ears, lips, eyes, noses, anuses and genitalia removed with “surgical precision”.
Speculation surrounding who – or what – might be responsible for the killings and mutilations ranged from satanic worshipers and government agents to aliens.
In the mid 70s the American FBI launched an investigation into the widespread cow deaths, however, were unable to offer a conclusion stating that their investigation was hindered by a lack of jurisdiction.
While no solution has been confirmed to date, some scientists have also attempted to justify the findings, stating they could simply be ordinary decomposition or even carrion animals.
Animals such as vultures, Tasmanian devils and coyotes often eat soft tissue body parts first which could explain why parts of the mouth, tongue, anus and eyes are often the parts found missing on the cows.
Scientists have also explained that when an animal dies, blood will naturally begin to clot and coagulate, creating the appearance that it had disappeared.
They weren’t, however, able to offer an explanation for the mass number of cow deaths over the years – for now it remains a mystery.