Livestock Movement Suspended in Rietfontein

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

The movement of livestock in Rietfontein has been suspended following the theft of three head of cattle from Botswana.

The three beasts were brought into Rietfontein about a week ago.

Gobabis State Veterinarian, Dr Milton Maseke, told New Era on Monday that his office was brought in to verify whether the animals were free of disease.

New Era understands that police have arrested the people suspected of stealing the cattle between January 25 and 26. The quarantine took effect from January 29. However, New Era could not independently confirm the arrest with the Omaheke Police.

The veterinary office conducted the first investigation and is now awaiting the test results, Maseke said.

The three animals are in the care of the veterinary office, which through the Namibian Police, is arranging with its Botswana counterparts to trace the owner and see whether the animals can be returned.

Meanwhile, a number of areas including Otjinene and Otjombinde have had the movement of livestock suspended because of lack of eartags.

Following the implementation of the Livestock Identification and Traceability System, which was introduced in 2005 and implemented countrywide in 2006, farmers are required to eartag their small and large stock when moving them from place to place.

But Maseke said some farmers are still reluctant to use the eartags “because they think small stock are just by-products.”

He said others were just ignorant of the law, while others felt the tags were expensive. So far, only Aminuis, one of the biggest small stock exporters, whose small stock movement was also suspended, had the sanctions lifted in January to enable the farmers who rely on small stock as income to send their children to school.

The veterinarian said his office was forced to take drastic steps because some farmers were uncooperative.

“We are forced to educate them and take such steps because by law, every farmer should have eartags on their farms. It is time to take serious steps,” he said.

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