By S. Param
Cattle hustlers are getting bolder and sophisticated by the day in the country. There has been a marked increase in the incidents of cattle theft in the country of late. Cattle farmers especially the small time poor farmers are crying for help especially from the police and the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) to do something to safeguard their livelihood and prevent their livestock been stolen.
The latest brazen cattle theft incident which was highlighted as one of the front page news in a local Tamil daily today involves a number of heads of dairy cattle worth several hundreds of thousands ringgits been stolen from a small time farmer. Apparently several people wearing face masks stormed the cattle farm and carted away the animals in a lorry. About two weeks ago another farmer reported that his cattle were hearded away by a bunch of parang wielding men in an estate after overpowering the farm workers.
Looking at the modus operandi of these cattle hustlers it appears that they are receiving inside help and well connected. A well organised and influential syndicate must be behind the spate of cattle and other livestock thefts in the country. The hustlers know exactly what they are doing and they are pretty slick in disposing of their animals.
Obviously there seems to a great demand for these stolen cattle in the black market. The animals may have been sold to another farmer or killed in an illegal slaughter house. I suspect in view of the high price for a kilo of local beef many of these stolen animals are likely to end up as meat in the market.
Live animals can be easily identified and I doubt these animals are sold to another livestock farmer. To avoid been traced the syndicates must have a well organised team to slaughter the animals and distribute the meat to their “marketing agents” to be sold in the markets or restaurants.
The police and the DVS should view the livestock theft incidents seriously and set up a joint task force to track down the cattle rustling gangs and their marketing agents. In view of the fact that there has been no news of any arrest of these cattle thieves or their “marketing agents” the public tend to perceive the authorities as treating the matter lightly and been unsympathetic.
I wish to draw the attention of the relevant authorities that the issue does not only affect the poor farmers economically but it is a threat to public health. Illegal livestock meat may pose a serious health risk to the public and to the livestock industry as a whole. More....