On the night of 12 July, an unknown number of stock thieves stole two stud Angus bulls of three years old from Angus Williamson’s Bar A Angus Stud on Mount Victoria Farm near Mooi River. The loss was discovered early the next morning and Williamson along with his farm manager, Jason Lucey, and some employees, scoured the farm and its surrounds for the two bulls, each valued at about R30 000.
The men discover the crudely hacked up remains of one bull near Mooi River’s Bruntville township. Its distressed companion had been tethered to a tree about 10 metres from the scene. It seems that the thieves had first attempted to kill the bull by repeatedly striking it on the skull. When this did not work, they slit its throat. The secluded site appeared to have been used as an informal butchery for some time, as the desiccated remains of at least seven other cattle were found.
“Stock theft is yet another cost that our farming businesses have to bear. We even have to pay for 24-hour armed guards,” Williamson said. “Despite all our efforts, these stock thieves still succeed. And unless they are caught in the act it’s almost impossible to prosecute them.”
Adding to Williamson’s frustration was the fact that the meat from the slaughtered bull, which will cost about R70 000 to replace, will probably be sold for a measly R5/kg to R10/kg. A commercial beef animal currently sells for about R28/ kg at formal livestock sales in the area. South African livestock producers annually lose up to R400 million to stock theft.