Queen’s Drive livestock farmers hit by thieves again
October 25, 2013

Queen’s Drive livestock farmers hit by thieves again

Livestock farmers here continue to suffer at the hands of thieves.

They are therefore repeating their calls for quick action and for a tracking system put in place to bring an end to the problem that has been plaguing the agricultural sector.{{more}}

One of the recent calls has come from Frank Da Silva, talk show host, activist and farmer, who, on a recent radio talk show, said that he has lost three animals this year alone.

“It could have been four, but my neighbours found one,” Da Silva said.

The Queen’s Drive resident said his most recent loss occurred last Friday. He explained that he tied the animal in a pen around 6:40 pm and about an hour later, at 7:45, he heard a neighbour shouting something about a goat.

According to Da Silva, the man told him that an individual was seen with his ram goat in the vicinity of Super J supermarket at Arnos Vale, but by the time he and the police got to the area, the individual was already gone.

DaSilva said that he has lost a total of 18 animals within an eight-year period. He said his neighbours have also lost goats at the hands of thieves.

Another farmer, a woman who said that she lives in the Mt Pleasant, Mesopotamia area, complained that she too has been a victim.

According to the woman, the culprits usually kill and clean her stolen animals in the vicinity of her property. The woman said that she relies on the livestock business to provide for her children.

“And all dem ah do, dem ah thief me goat,” she said.

The troubled woman said that she spends a lot of money to ensure that she produces healthy animals, but that she has not been able to fully reap the rewards of her labour.

“Now, the biggest problem is not the thief, but the person who bought my goat,” Da Silva said.

The activist and talk show host said that he is interested in the individual who purchased the meat.

“My interest is in the butcher who bought my goat,” he said.

“I want to give the buyer a chance to contact the police…. Tell anybody in that area (Super J Arnos Vale) if they buy a goat Friday night, you better get in touch with the police… at CID.”

DaSilva suggested that a system be put in place so that animals are tagged.

“So, anybody who goes to sell to a butcher, they must buy an animal with a tag,” Da Silva explained.

He pointed out further that it is the norm that after an animal is slaughtered that a health inspector look at the meat to determine if it is safe for human consumption.

“Their job will be to make sure that the animal comes from the proper owner,” Da Silva reasoned.

He explained that the way the system will work, if an animal is stolen, and a report is made to the police and the inspector has the tag, then it is easy to track who stole the animal.

“The person (butcher) will have to give the name who they bought the animal from,” Da Silva said.

Meanwhile, Robert Fitzpatrick, small ruminant farmer, encouraged all farmers of small ruminants to become organised and join the organisation.

According to Fitzpatrick, the group is a non-governmental one, in which all animals are tagged and colour coded, depending on the area they are from.

Therefore, when an animal goes to be slaughtered, it is easy to determine the location and owner of the animal, he said.

He, however, called for a system to be put in place where the tag of any animal being inspected must be collected by the inspector.

Fitzpatrick explained that there was also some discussion about tattooing the animals.

“… must be able to have someone – the public health inspector – to collect tags,” he said adding that this was necessary if the officials are serious about making an attempt to stop the problem of the theft of livestock. (DD)