THE leading article in last week’s Talk of the Town has to be among the most absurd pieces of editorial ever written!
There is nothing whatsoever wrong with the journalism or the syntax, it is the content that is so worrisome.
Let me make a few obser vations: The cows that live in Bathurst do not “break out of farms” – they LIVE in the town. The owners are very happy that the townsfolk provide them with free grazing in gardens or along the roadside.
These cows are identifiable and seen over and over again, they sleep where they wish, with no owner ever in sight. The rationale that the owners do not wish to
brand their cattle because if their cow kills a family in a car they might be sued
for millions is absolutely bizarre.
By which law are people allowed to hide their identity in case of a criminal act being committed – can I take my number plates off my car so that I can’t be identified if I hit a family walking on the side of the road?
Can I throw away my ID book and present myself to the authorities as a person
with no name in case I commit a crime? I cannot, so how can the owner of a
cow be allowed to do so.
If the law states that unbranded cattle cannot be roaming free, then the law
It states in the article that the retrieval fee for cattle from the pound can be up
to R3 000, and that the cost can sometimes be greater than the value of the
A cow is worth R3000 at today’s prices, so why can’t these “farmers ” sell just one cow and use the money to fence their properties (assuming the cows ever really do “break out” of their farms).
The “ranger” has a remarkable job – he parks his bike on the main road and simply helps the owners of the cows make sure the animals stay in the town and do not wander down the main road, heading for Grahamstown.
Where, one might ask, are the owners of the cattle? Surely being these desperately poor individuals they would be alongside their assets, guarding them?
According to local legend, the owners are not in fact poor farmers at all, but have used the income from their jobs to purchase cattle!
It is also grossly incorrect to assume the cattle have no value to the owners who
are simply poor farmers trying to eke out a living. Most herds wandering through Bathurst have at least nine adult animals – nine animals at R3000 each is R27000, which is realisable in cash at any time, so they are not desperately poor and
unable to finance their own insurance and pay for branding.
The fact is that operating as these cattle owners do is a great business, not a cent
spent in care or upkeep of the herd, while residents and Ndlambe Municipality
provide whatever these cows need by way of pasturage, housing and welfare.
Finally, it could be hypothesised that ownership of these cows has nothing whatsoever to do with farming. In some societies ownership of a swimming pool is a symbol of wealth, in others, a fancy car, the best cellphone or clothes, and in yet others it might be owning a herd of cattle. No symbol of wealth or material possession comes without cost.
If I don’t have a property to place my pool, no money for chemicals or for a pool
pump, then I cannot have a pool. The same applies to cows.