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DA shocked by scale of livestock deaths at EC govt experimental farms

Jan 17, 2020
DA shocked by scale of livestock deaths at EC govt experimental farms

Bhisho - Shocking revelations that hundreds of animals have died at the Eastern Cape Government’s six experimental farming facilities, have come to light, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Thursday.

"This raises serious questions around the care and possible neglect at these facilities," said Retief Odendaal (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.

"The province currently has six experimental farms, focusing on animal, pasture and crop sciences, namely the Dohne A.D.I; Bathurst R.C; Adelaide R.F; Cradock R.C; Wolwehoek R.F; Jansenville R.F and the Mthatha Dam.

"All these facilities, except for the Mthatha Dam, have livestock on premises, ranging from Nguni cattle and merino sheep to angora and cashmere goats."

In response to a parliamentary question, the MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Nomakhosazana Meth, confirmed that across these facilities 249 animals have died in the last financial year.

"At the Jansenville facility, for example, 98 goats died, while at the Dohne facility 20 cattle and 43 sheep perished," said Odendaal.

"Whilst this does not necessarily mean livestock are subjected to mistreatment in any way, as one could reasonably expect losses in any farming operation, the excessive number of animals that have perished raises serious concerns about the management of these experimental farms."

He added that these deaths raise issues such as whether the animals have been vaccinated, and whether the staff at these facilities are trained in identifying and treating diseases.

"I have requested the portfolio committee to demand urgent reports on the operations at these experimental farms, with specific emphasis on the management of our livestock at said facilities," Odendaal said.

"Should any form of animal neglect or abuse come to light, the DA will ensure that criminal cases are opened against those individuals responsible.

"The basic test of a fair society is how we treat how we treat our animals. The DA is determined to eradicate any practices in this province that results in cruelty to animals. This cannot be tolerated in any form."

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