DNA Tests Put Pressure on Rustlers

ISRAEL - DNA testing is the newest frontier in the battle against cattle rustlers, with local breeders hoping a genetic database will do what police raids of cowsheds could not.
calendar icon 23 March 2009
clock icon 1 minute read

Over the past few years, many farmers have given up on traditional efforts to track the thieves, since night-time police ambushes along the seam line, patrols and raids of suspects' cowsheds have had only minimal success, reports Haaretz.

But now, according to the Israeli news organisation, the search for stolen cattle can be supplemented by genetic tests in cowsheds, slaughterhouses and butcher shops across the country. At least 10 local breeders are setting up private DNA databases of their cattle in the hope that it will help them prove ownership of their animals in case they are stolen, said Israeli Cattle Breeders Association chairman Haim Dayan.

"We still have a long way to go in terms of the struggle against this phenomenon of cattle theft," he told Hareetz. "I am pleased to say that the judicial system has started to treat the thieves with more stringent measures and the judges remand them into custody until the end of the proceedings."

Cattle rustlers steal at least 2,000 heads of cattle a year, causing millions of shekels in damage, said Dayan.

Thousands of test tubes filled with livestock DNA have recently been piling up in the Bactochem laboratories in Nes Tziona. Each test tube contains minute specimens taken from the ears of cows and bulls belonging to cattle breeders from all parts of the country.

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