Vet Department works on cattle branding roll-out
The Veterinary Department will commence cattle branding in next month as a measure to reduce stock theft and control the spread of diseases in the country.
Currently the department is working on branding tools targeting about six per dip tank. Branding, also known as umtshiso, is a process whereby farmers get a unique mark for their herd from the Registrar General’s Office as a way of reducing stock theft.
The branding exercise, which identifies cattle by their districts and owners using a monitored system, will also enables the Government to control the outbreak of animal diseases
The aim of the programme is to strengthen the protection of the national herd.
The police still had a mammoth task since cases of stock theft were still prevalent despite efforts to protect the national herd.
In an interview, Veterinary Provincial Director for Midlands Dr Martin Sibanda said farmers, both communal and commercial should embrace livestock branding as a positive step towards putting an end to stock theft.
He said farmers should be conscientised about the importance of putting personal marks or brands on their livestock urging communities to embrace the cattle branding system so as to protect cattle in the country.
He appealed to farmers to take cattle branding seriously adding that the country would record a sharp decrease in stock theft if all farmers were to brand their cattle.
“We will be working on cattle branding in winter, the exercise will be carried out throughout the country. Communities should embrace the cattle branding initiative which will greatly contribute to the protection of the national herd. Cattle branding makes it easier for owners to identify their livestock. Even if the animal is stolen, its origins can be detected,” he said. The aim is to brand all the cattle in the province and we will be working with farmers so that they co-operate,” he said.
Dr Sibanda said the branding exercise was normally conducted in winter as animals may be subjected to septic wounds which may take some time to heal.
He urged communal farmers to co-operate so that their animals can be positively identified in case of stock theft. Farmers have welcomed cattle branding initiative saying it will go a long way in protecting the national herd from unscrupulous dealers.
Mr Farai Mandaza of Dalston Farm in Raffingora said stock theft cases had significantly decreased in his area in the last four years due to police interventions saying there was still a lot of work to be done by police and communities.
“The aim of this exercise is to strengthen protection of livestock and calls for active participation by everyone. We are happy for this imitative which is a positive step towards national development. We welcome this initiative , it is a noble idea which we are all waiting for,” he said.
Another farmer Mr Taurai Mbofana of Maheu in Banket urged other farmers to take the branding exercise seriously to reduce loss of cattle due to theft.
“We welcome this noble idea, let’s all embrace it. We’ve lost a number of cattle but with branding it will be easy to trace them even to butcheries. We are grateful for this initiative. Our cattle are our wealth, we need to protect them,” he said.
Branding of cattle was not only done in Zimbabwe, but in the whole of the Southern African Development Countries (SADC) region because of cross- border theft of livestock.