RED steer, black dog? This aberrant scenario will play out at the Muchea Livestock Centre next Monday (June 27) when sale proceeds of a red steer will be donated to the Black Dog Ride charity.
Popanyinning farmers Neil and Cobie Francis are donating the full sale proceeds of the steer to the Black Dog Ride, a campaign that raises awareness for depression and suicide prevention.
The quality grainfed steer is sired by a Blonde d'Aquitaine bull from the Kalinya stud, Serpentine and out of a Shorthorn cross cow based on former Aprelia stud bloodlines.
It will be sold through Westcoast Livestock (WCL) who are second sale and with Livestock Logistics WA (LLWA) and Western Australian Meat Industry Authority (WAMIA), have kindly wavered all commissions, handling and yard fees. Neil Francis said a suicide close to home and learning about the Black Dog Ride from local electrician Ray Sherry, prompted the fundraiser.
While he hopes the sale raises as much money as possible, it was more about awareness in farming and regional communities.
"It's about raising awareness for suicide and depression and spreading the Black Dog Ride message to the wider rural areas and we thought Muchea was a good platform to do it," he said.
"I spent many hours with a local family who lost someone through suicide; I have seen first-hand the effect it has on the family left behind.
"Ray has taken part in the Black Dog Rides for several years and taught me all about the ride and what it stands for.
"As a family we seek no personal mileage from the fundraiser but we are proud to support an important cause."
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australians under the age of 45 and claims eight Australian lives every day.
Eighty per cent are by men with regional male suicide rates much higher than the national average. Depressive disorders are found to be the most identifiable risk factor associated with suicide and mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Australian with one in five people affected every year.
The Black Dog Ride was established in 2009 and has since grown to be an incorporated national charity raising more than $2,200,000 for mental health services.
The group organises an annual long distance ride and smaller day rides aimed at engaging local, regional and remote communities with metal health advocacy, awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
Black Dog Ride founder and managing director Steve Andrews thanked Neil and Cobie Francis for their generous donation of the steer and WCL, LLWA and WAMIA for their support.
"Our organisation is thrilled to have the opportunity to engage farmers and other members of the livestock community at Muchea next Monday," Mr Andrews said.
"It's important that we encourage open and honest discussion about depression and suicide prevention - particularly amongst men, who traditionally are not good at discussing their mental health.
"Remember, depression is an illness, not a weakness and effective treatments are available.
"It's important to seek help early and with the right treatment most people recover.
"If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, talk to a doctor or another health professional today.
"If we work together we can make a difference."