By Wezi Tjaronda
The Woolworths retail chain store is working on policy guidelines to help farmers integrate predator management into livestock production.
The aim is to reduce predatory activities on farms using scientifically proven methods as well as phasing out the use of gin traps, poison and pack hunting on livestock farms.
Woolworths is currently working with various experts in the field on the guidelines regarding predator management that will be equally acceptable to the consumer and the farmer.
Dirk Borstlap, Technologist: Foods (Farm and Abattoir) Woolworths (Pty) Limited discouraged farmers from using the current methods of gin traps, poisons and pack hunting.
He made this appeal in a letter published in the Weekly Namibia Agricultural Union Newsletter last week.
The policy guidelines form part of the shop’s five-year plan termed “Changing the way we do business”, which include increasing organic and free range food sales fourfold to over N$1 billion per annum, supporting predator-friendly lamb, not selling any endangered species mainly fish, encouraging the right farming practices as the shop only stocks free-range eggs, and continuing to encourage customers to support free range farming with free range chicken, beef and lamb.
Woolworths this year launched Free Range Beef, becoming the first South African retailer to offer consumers beef guaranteed to be free of growth hormones.
Borstlap said in cases where a problem black-backed jackal (rooijakkals) or caracal (rooikat) has been identified, the animal may be shot as long as this is done in a humane manner and minimises undue pain and suffering.
But in areas where leopard and cheetah are present (traditional cattle rearing areas), all reasonable care and effort must be taken to catch and relocate these animals in collaboration with the local authority and conservation agency.
In areas where endangered animals are present, the technologist said no poison or gin traps may be used.
“The journey to achieve a situation where both farmers and consumers are satisfied with the way in which to deal with this and similar environmental issues is going to be a long and difficult one, but no doubt passable if all parties involved are willing to travel with us for the sake of all stakeholders,” he said.