HOBBLING OF LIVESTOCK
The practice of restraining equines, especially horses, by this method is not acceptable as it
can lead to injuries. The animal’s head is tied to a foreleg rendering it unable to run, and
leaves it defenceless against attacks by dogs. Hobbled animals cannot lift their head and this
causes additional stress.
USE OF UNREGISTERED “DRUG” PRODUCTS IN LIVESTOCK
All livestock owners must take note that it is illegal to advertise, recommend, advise or sell
any product intended to cure, treat, prevent or diagnose any animal disease unless the
product has been thoroughly tested and registered for specific use in terms of Act 36 of 1947.
This Act is there to protect farmers against bogus claims and products. All registered products
must display a “G number” indicating that it is registered and thus effective and safe to use
RELIEF OF COWS WITH CALVING DIFFICULTIES
Calves should only be delivered by persons with the proper training and expertise. The first
thing to find out if it is a normal (head first) presentation and if both forelegs are in the birth
canal, then that the calf is small enough for normal delivery, and finally if there is enough
lubrication for delivery. Only then can ropes be attached and pulled by the power of two
men. On no account should there be excessive force, never using mechanical power. This is
cruel, dangerous and illegal, and will lead to prosecution under the Animals Protection Act. If
a calving case is difficult or protracted it is better and cost-effective to leave delivery to a
trained expert (a veterinarian) who can save both cow and calf if called to assist early enough.
Humane euthanasia must be considered if the calf cannot be delivered.
Unregistered “remedies” that are advocated by unqualified people like farmers and other
laypersons are illegal, and may be either useless or dangerous as well. “Recipes” can be found
on many websites and chatrooms but are without any scientific basis. Both the supplier and
user of this “advice” are liable to prosecution for transgressing Act 36 of1947 or Act 62 of
1962. Some of the “prescriptions” are downright barbaric, like injecting carbolic acid (Jeyes
Fluid), or applying petrol or diesel to wound, or putting copper sulphate into eyes. Farmers
should ask: “Would I apply this to myself, or my family?” Remedies that work and are safe
for humans are usually also suitable for livestock, although in different formulation and prices.
However this “extra-label” use is not legal in the hands of farmers. Making up safe and effective drug formulations is a task for experts and subject to vigorous testing. Home-made
formulations by a “farmer-cologist” are risky, dangerous and illegal. Use only registered
DEHORNING CATTLE: ACCEPTED AND ILLEGAL METHODS
All farmers must note that only the disbudding and then cauterisation of young calves is
accepted as a dehorning practice for use by farmers. The dehorning of adult cattle by saws,
hacksaws, axes, keystone instruments, embryotomy wires or other methods are forbidden,
and any such practices will lead to prosecution under the Animals Protection Act. Adult
horned cattle must be dehorned by a veterinarian, using adequate anesthesia.
Castration rings, also known as elastrators, were developed for castration and accepted for
this purpose subject to strict limitations governing application and age of animal. These
devices are not acceptable for dehorning cattle since they cause prolonged pain and result in
the necrosis (death) of the horn, underlying tissues and bone. This in turn renders the animal
susceptible to serious infections, including gangrene. If dehorning is to be done by farmers,
it must be performed on young calves only and using methods approved by Industry Codes of
Best Practice. It is rational and preferable to breed cattle without horns (polled cattle), since
the polled gene can readily be introduced into any breed and constitutes a permanent,
painless way of obviating the need to practice dehorning.
CALF REARING ON RESIDUAL MILK
Some farmers milk their cows and only allow young calves access to residual milk from the
udder after milking. This can leave young calves deprived of the quality and quantity that
they need to grow and thrive. Farmers must ensure that calves get enough milk or calf milk
replacement especially in the crucial first 2 – 3 months.
All livestock farmers must note that all antibiotics must be used with discretion for sick
animals, following a correct diagnosis, and not used as preventatives or to cover up the
consequences of bad management.