Desperate farmers in Australia are begging the government for help as a mouse plague across New South Wales rages on.
Horrifying footage shows the extent of the problem, which has been tormenting farmers for months. Thousands of mice are seen scurrying across paddocks and houses, wreaking havoc for locals.
Earlier in the year, the mice plague was centered in central and northwest areas of the state, but there are now reports of sightings as far south as Albury-Wodonga, which lies on the NSW-Victoria border, 7News reports.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall says there is "no amount of money" that will make the mice go away.
"To suggest that the government isn't taking this seriously, or to ignore it, is frankly wrong and insulting," he says.
Although mouse bait manufacturers have recently been permitted to double the lethality of their products, farmers say they need government help to pay for it. The higher dose bait will cost an additional $1 per kilogram.
Farmers gathered at NSW's state parliament on Wednesday asking for A$25,000 (NZD$26,959) to bait the mice, but no ministers attended the meeting, 9News reports.
"The smell is horrific. You can pick up all the mice you see but there is always more. I did 38 loads of washing in three days," farmer Lisa Minogue says.
"My house is pretty much packed up in boxes. A bucket of bait for my house I go through in five days. That's $200 every five days."
NSW Farmers grains committee chairperson Matthew Madden says it's estimated farmers have lost between $50,000 and $150,000 worth of stored grain and fodder.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says while the rodents are "unpleasant", there is only so much the government can do.
"A number of my colleagues live in communities where they have told me their personal experiences [of the plague]. It's unpleasant, depending on where you live, and apparently, it could get worse, due to the reproductive times. I am less knowledgeable on this than my regional colleagues," she told 2GB radio.
"We are doing everything we can but there is only so much we can do, it's nature at the end. One of my colleagues joked there's a lot of fat snakes out there at the moment. We can't pretend to be able to fix what is a natural disaster."
A survey conducted by NSW Farmers and the Country Women's Association (CWA) of NSW found there are severe social and mental health impacts on farmers, their families, and rural communities.
"A staggering 97 percent of the survey respondents felt the influx of mice is affecting their stress levels making farm business decisions," CWA CEO Danica Leys said.
"People are having issues with sleeping, which we all know as a significant impact on mental and physical health."