Driving home the message

WE are grateful that no people were injured in two recent accidents involving stray cattle, although it must have been a horrible experience in terms of the shock to the car occupants and the damage to their vehicles.

And there was injury to the beasts concerned – severe enough that two of them had to be euthanised by the SPCA.

It is not the fault of these dumb animals that they wander the streets at night, grazing wherever they find enough grass. The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of their irresponsible owners, who own animals they cannot or will not care for.

They want to own cattle without the obligations that come with raising and breeding such beasts, like sustainable and properly fenced pasture.

People could lose their lives colliding with such big animals on the roads at night, not seeing them until they step out of the darkness. But the owners of these animals have shown they give no thought to the consequences of their negligence, as they keep allowing their animals to wander and have refused to brand them so as not to be identified as the owners.

It took a high court order obtained by Agri EC for the municipality to face up to its obligations and finally put in place a reporting system for stray cattle to be impounded

It is also the fault of Ndlambe Municipality for not controlling and maintaining its commonages where many of the beasts come from. The municipality has had a laissez faire attitude to its commonages for many years, to the point the land is overstocked and overgrazed, often with sickly beasts.

This writer has seen with his own eyes the carcasses of dead cattle on the municipality’s Kruisfontein commonage, and a cow dying as it was stuck in a muddy watering hole and another dying against a fence.

It is also the municipality’s fault that for years it had not been enforcing its own bylaws with regard to the impounding of strays and issuing fines to the owners. These owners faced no consequences and felt empowered to keep doing what they had always done.

It took a high court order obtained by Agri EC for the municipality to face up to its obligations and finally put in place a reporting system for stray cattle to be impounded and begin attending to a host of other problems with its commonages.

The SAPS also need to up their game, as it is their responsibility to enforce the Animal Identification Act and issue fines to the owners of unmarked cattle.

We hope that the recent accidents drive home the message to both the municipality and police to get tough on this issue, or the next accident could be fatal.

– Jon Houzet

Alarm over stray cattle

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