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Adelaide cattle were not poisoned as alleged: Agri Eastern Cape

Sep 19, 2018
Adelaide cattle were not poisoned as alleged: Agri Eastern Cape

Eastern Cape farmers organisation, Agri Eastern Cape, on Wednesday said it wanted to set the record straight following an article published on Tuesday in a local newspaper.

In the report, it was claimed by commonage farmers from Lingelethu Village in Adelaide that 15 cattle were poisoned and that Eastern Cape Rural Development MEC, Xolile Nqatha, announced that a feedlot would be built to prevent cattle straying onto private property in search of food because of the incident.

"This allegation stems from an apparent incident a few weeks ago where several cattle were alleged to have strayed onto a neighbouring commercial farmers land in search of grazing where herbicide had been used to control invasive vegetation," Agri Eastern Cape's Chairperson for Rural Safety, Alfonso Van Niekerk.

"The farmer, a member of Agri Eastern Cape, confirmed that a herbicide - not lethal to cattle, was sprayed on invasive vegetation on his property.

"This was done in an attempt to control it, as required and mandated under the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act." 

He said that the problem of stray animals breaking the common boundary fence between his farm and the commonage is a regular problem, "as the commonage is severely mismanaged and overgrazed".

"This matter has been raised repeatedly with the Authorities and in spite of promises to repair the common boundary fence and rectify the management issues, nothing has been forthcoming. The neighbouring commercial farmer has been forced to carry the sole responsibility of maintaining this common boundary fence," Van Niekerk.

"Samples of the animals that allegedly died in this manner were taken by the State Veterinary Services and sent away for analysis and reports received back upon enquiry, do not indicate any evidence of poisoning.

"However, despite this, the allegations continue to be reported upon, where no factual basis exists. Apparently, the matter is still under investigation, and the farmer concerned has co-operated fully with the Authorities in this regard."

Van Niekerk said that the true cause of the deaths of these animals has yet to be established, but again the real issue of the mismanagement of commonages by the Local Authorities is downplayed.

"Until this issue is addressed, livestock de-pastured on these commonages will continue to die in ever increasing numbers due to poor nutrition, external and internal parasite control and disease."

Image: file photo