Man arrested for stealing cow GALLSTONES from abattoir for Chinese herbal medicine market

  • A 38-year-old Toowoomba man was charged after police raided his home
  • Search was launched after gallstones began disappearing from abattoir
  • They are used in alternative medicine to treat hepatitis, liver and gall bladder-related ailments
  • The man will appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on June 23

Gallstones are something most people would be happy to part with – but not if they’re running an abattoir and the stones are worth $20,000 per kilogram.

A collection of cattle gallstones, which are used in Chinese herbal medicine, began disappearing from a slaughterhouse at Oakey, west of Toowoomba, over the last six months.

The Toowoomba Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad this week raided a property at Cranley and a 38-year-old man was charged.

He will appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on June 23.

Acting detective senior sergeant Brendan Murphy said police had to act fast because the small gallstones are easy to dispose of.

‘It’s quite common to store them in a fridge,’ Det Murphy said.

‘There was a good chance they were going to be in the fridge – if they weren’t in the fridge we would have been looking all day.’

Cattle gallstones are used in alternative medicine to treat hepatitis and other liver and gall bladder-related ailments.

They form in a variety of shapes and sizes, however their value is determined by colour, texture, size and dryness.

‘It appears to me a bit like valuing gemstones – you have good ones and bad ones,’ Det Murphy said.

‘Having dealings with the industry … we know that in the abattoir game they do actually lock up and secure these gallstones, because of their value, but it’s definitely not something we’ve come across too often.’ 

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