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Cattle Rustling Still a Global Problem

21 March 2012

GLOBAL - Cattle rustling is still a huge problem across the world. In many places a rise in beef prices has led to an increase in the thefts of heifers and calves, write Lucy Towers, Newsdesk Assistant.

Some of the worst hit areas for rustling are the US states of Texas and Oklahoma. Here, farmers have suffered economic losses firstly from the ongoing droughts and now from the increased cattle thefts due to the rising beef prices caused by the drought.

Marvin C. Wills, a special ranger with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, told KWTX that in the last year special rangers tackled more than 1,000 cases of cattle rustling in Texas and Oklahoma, a number that is expected to grow.

The TorontoSun reports that Canada has over 6,000 cattle thefts a year, a number which is rising. In response to the increasing number, the Alberta Western Stock Growers' Association is increasing, by up to 5,000 per cent, the rewards given for the arrests of cattle rustlers.

Cases of cattle rustling alongside human killings have been observed in South Sudan where a high dowry and economic pressure among communities has been blamed.

The BBCNews now reports that over 200 people have died and thousands of cattle stolen in the latest cattle raids in South Sudan.

However, in some places a decline in thefts has been seen. Tanzanian police reported that 4,428 cases of cattle rustling were reported last year, compared to 11,845 livestock stolen in 2010.

The decline of cattle rustling cases was attributed to good cooperation between various institutions, including the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) the Pastoralist Indigenous Non-Government Organisations (PINGOS) Network and village leaders.

In the UK, areas that are not usually targeted for thefts have now been targeted. In a calculated raid, a Dumfries and Galloway farm has had around £24,000 worth of livestock stolen.

In New Zealand, police are working with farmers union, Federated Farmers to create a rural team which will help the police in combating cattle rustling. This will work though increased surveillance, reporting and awareness, especially where cheap meat is being sold suspiciously.

John Heard, a sheep farmer from Devon, had the ingenious idea of painting his flock orange, a harmless process that has proved efficient at deterring rustlers.

However, despite methods to help stop cattle rustling, it is still continuing. Branding cattle no longer seems enough to deter thieves, however it does increase their chances of recovery.

Lucy Towers

Lucy Towers
News Team - Editor

After graduating from The University of Sheffield, Lucy joined 5M in 2011 as part of the News Desk team. In 2012, she was promoted to editor of TheFishSite. With previous farming experience and a love for the great outdoors, Lucy has a passion for wildlife and the environment.



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