Farmers associations urge government to address problem of livestock theft in SA

Some farmers associations have called on government to tighten the screws in dealing effectively with the plague of livestock theft in the country. Farmers say this problem is one of the factors posing a threat to food security in this already limping economic climate.

The livestock theft scourge is impacting both commercial and emerging farmers. But over the years, things have taken a turn for the worse in this sector.

A Farmer who’s been farming with livestock since 2006 says thieves recently crept into his kraal and under the cover of darkness, hacked to death two of his cows

“The way they kill the cows is ruthless and it keeps me awake even in the thick of the night as we have to constantly check if there’s no movement outside,” a livestock owner says.

Some are led into the bushes, and then tied up before they’re slaughtered for meat which is later sold on the informal market. And buyers such as other farmers, stock auctions, feedlots and abattoirs can unknowingly be the recipients of stolen livestock.

“most of the animals that are stolen end up in abattoirs or auctions and it’s only 10% which end up in informal butcheries or locations” Willie Clack from National Stock Theft Prevention Forum.

The South African Farmers Development Association says stock theft doesn’t only destroy potential genetic material. It also poses a threat to food security.

“Farmers are faced with a challenge at the time when the country is experiencing a serious economic crisis,” says Siyabonga Madlala from the South African Farmers Development Association.

Many farmers also lament the poor prosecution of cases which they say undo the work of the police. However, the National Stock Theft Prevention Forum says farmers also have a responsibility to ensure that their livestock is properly identified, and to provide enough proof.

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Source: SABC News (