Cattle branding now mandatory starting June Officer Commanding ZRP Bindura District Chief Superintendent Gladman Chiparaushe

Fungai Lupande
Mashonaland Central Bureau

Cattle branding will become mandatory starting this June and the Veterinary Services Department will not clear unbranded cattle.

This comes as concerted efforts are being made to safeguard the national herd from diseases and stock theft.

An anti-stock theft campaign organised by the Zimbabwe Republic Police was held last Friday at Rosetta Rust Farm in Matepatepa, Bindura.

Speaking at the event, provincial Vet supervisor Mr Simon Heya said starting in June, they will not clear cattle without a stock card and register.

He said the national herd is now on a recovery path after January Disease ravaged cattle in the past three years.

“The livestock recovery path is now being impeded by cattle rustlers. Vision 2030 cannot be achieved when we are losing livestock, an important symbol of wealth for Zimbabweans,” said Mr Heya.

He said most farmers rely on cattle for ploughing and stock theft destabilises people’s lives. Downstream jobs are lost in the agriculture sector due to stock theft.

Mr Heya said every livestock farmer must have a regularly updated stock card and stock register.

“Starting June, no police officer or veterinary department official will clear unbranded cattle or cattle that don’t have stock cards,” he said.

“When the branding season commences, cattle will have a dip tank brand, a provincial brand and a personal brand. Stray or stolen cattle can be identified and tracked by province, dip tank and farmer.”

Guest of Honour Officer Commanding ZRP Bindura District Chief Superintended Gladman Chiparaushe said the number of stock theft cases is going down.

In 2022, 242 stock theft cases (including goats and chicken) were recorded and out of the number, 118 were cattle.

In 2023 out of the 116 cases reported 105 were of cattle with 19 being recovered.

He said although the numbers are coming down, the theft of one cow is a loss.

“Cattle branding becomes key in safeguarding our herd and it will help us to identify cattle by province and district. We don’t want stray cattle to be auctioned due to lack of identification,” he said.

Chief Supt Chiparaushe said chiefs and village heads are spearheading the anti-stock theft campaign by creating committees at the village level.

He said local youths sometimes are used as agents by cattle rustlers.

Mazowe Central Member of Parliament Cde Maxmore Njanji urged his constituency to forge strong relations with the police.

“It’s now time to join hands and fight crime together. Engage the police when you employ people to herd your cattle. Furnish the police with their details for vetting purposes, some of them are fugitive from justice.

“The National Development Strategy 1 is clear on the importance of livestock for food security and improved nutrition. With climate change affecting our agriculture more and more, livestock reduced the vulnerability of communities,” said Cde Njanji.

Bindura Rural District Council Pound Master Mrs Wadzanai Mhendami said the number of stray animals has halved from over 20 per year before the COVID-19 pandemic to less than 10 now.

She said they are mandated by the Government to auction stray cattle after three months of notice.

“We don’t rush to sell the cattle hoping that the owner will come forward. When the owner comes forward on the auction day, we stop the sale,” said Mrs Mhendami.

“Due to lack of grazing area, we place stray cattle in the custody of a farmer. Sometimes the custodians don’t report the death of stray cattle. Sometimes people keep stray animals and they don’t report to the police, all these cases will be investigated by the police and you risk jail time.”

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