Letter – 27 April 2007

Humane predator deterrents do work

Is there a criminal campaign against food production?
A matter of fact – platteland style!
Issue Date 27 April 2007

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Humane predator deterrents do work

With regard to the “Call for info on smallstock loss” by Free State University’s Canis-Caracal Programme, reported in Farmer’s Weekly of 30 March: as a practising organic farmer (SGS certified) in McGregor, I recommend the use of humane, safe and natural deterrents to control predators. My newly purchased farm in 2003 was host to every imaginable pest such as large rodents in my vineyards, snails, ants, mealie bug infestation and so on, including browsing buck. Today the balance has been restored without any slaughter, poisons or traps. I will happily supply information on request. S mallstock farmers should run donkeys with their flocks – it works! The sceptics should just try it out – it saves lives and simultaneously protects the animals whose habitat we have usurped. Poisons and traps are unacceptable as they are random, painful procedures.
PJL Werdmuller von Elgg, VIA E-MAIL

Is there a criminal campaign against food production?

I noted with horror some statistics in the story “Crime must be tackled at the highest level” in Farmer’s Weekly of 2 February. The report stated that there had been 9 600 farm attacks involving some 1 560 murders since 1991. I knew of the trend, but not that the figures were so high. I have also noted concerns expressed by farming bodies about the closing or demobilisation of the commando units, which were a great deterrent against farm attacks. I know the SAPS was supposed to fill the void but only a handful of the demobilised commando members opted to become police reservists and, equally, very little enthusiasm has been seen from any one else to fill the void. I am interested in trying to track the impact of types of criminal activity on business, industry and society in SA. Any indication of the present statistics on farm attacks and their outcome, and any possible interpretation for the reasons for this campaign being directed against food production, would be welcomed. My e-mail address is [email protected]
John Fletcher, VIA E-MAIL

A matter of fact – platteland style!

Farmer’s Weekly Eastern Cape correspondent Greg Miles recently discovered just how critical readers of the magazine can be, especially when they live in the same farming district as oneself. Having to buy some supplies for the farm, Greg popped into the Triple Streams supermarket in Stutterheim one afternoon. That’s when he ran into supermarket owner and Nguni farmer Ashley de Coning, who was standing behind the counter with his part- time employee Attie Steyl, studying the article Greg had done on indigenous velds in the 13 April issue of the magazine. “Ja Greg, one would think that you would have known that bushbuck horns don’t bend backwards, they grow backwards,” Ashley greeted Greg, to the very audible sniggers of Attie standing next to him. And there it stood, in the caption to the photograph of goat farmer Lionel Whittal, holding a unusual pair of bushbuck horns. “Well,” Greg countered lamely, “at least old Lionel made it into the magazine.” And apparently Lionel isn’t complaining about the coverage – he’s been inundated with calls from interested farmers, and has even made some sales following the article.

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