POLICE say someone has been deliberately releasing cattle onto the Hume Freeway in the North East, endangering motorists and killing the livestock involved in night-time collisions.
They are seeking those involved after an incident at Glenrowan late last month, when cattle were let loose from their paddock and walked onto the freeway where they were hit by four cars and two trucks.
Officers believed there were two other incidents at Glenrowan on June 29, when cattle were let out onto the highway.
A fourth incident was reported on Saturday night at Chiltern.
Police say it has been lucky no one has been killed so far, but several vehicles were written off and 13 cattle were killed or had to be put down.
Wangaratta police yesterday questioned a Benalla man, 40.
He was released pending further inquiries.
Senior Detective Mark Hussey said police were keen to speak to anyone who may have information.
“We believe it’s a deliberate act of leaving gates open on properties,” he said.
“It’s obviously a very dangerous act. It could have resulted in a fatality.”
Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey said fully grown cattle generally weighed between 700 kilograms and 1200 kilograms.
“It’s a fairly big concern if that’s happening,” he said.
“It could quite easily kill someone.
“It can be pretty hard to avoid the cattle at times.”
Mr Tuohey said it was not a common issue.
“Sometimes you have people coming through properties who leave gates open,” Mr Tuohey said.
“It’s not very common at all for someone to deliberately leave gates open to cause a problem.
“I’d be very concerned if that’s the case.”
VicRoads used Bobcats to remove the cattle from the road after the first incident, about two kilometres south of Glenrowan McDonald’s.