Hundreds of animals put down as fires rip through Free State farms

Unconfirmed numbers so far show that close to 300 cows have died in fires in the Free State. Many other animals have also perished.
Image: Nico Hendrickz

Hundreds of cattle had to be euthanised to relieve their suffering from extensive injuries sustained during fires which caused havoc in the Free State this week.

The runaway fires destroyed about 100,000ha of crops in Hertzogville, Hoopstad and Christiana. Homes and barns have also been destroyed.

Hertzogville veterinarian Nico Hendrikz told TimesLIVE that not all the animals which died in the fires had been accounted for, but the numbers were high. Interim figures showed that close to 300 cows died in the fires.

“A lot of cows had to be euthanised. The damage is so big that they couldn’t be treated. We tried emergency treatments on some of the cows just to save some of them for the farmers, but many died during the transportation process,” Hendrikz said.

Hendrikz said others animals that succumbed included buffalo, kudu, sheep, antelope and warthog.

Earlier, Agri Hertzogville chairperson Gys Olivier said the quantum of damage from the fires was estimated to be in the millions of rand.

Police spokesperson Brig Motantsi Makhele confirmed that 17 people had been arrested and appeared in the Hertzogville magistrate’s court on Tuesday on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

The police confirmed that Agri Hertzogville had also opened a case of arson.

Makhele said 11 people were arrested on Sunday and the rest were taken into custody on Monday. They were all were granted bail of R1,000 but seven could not afford bail and would remain in custody.

Their next court appearance is on November 5.

BY Iavan Pijoos

Leave a Reply