News / South Africa / Local News

T Worley
2 minute read
27 Jul 2019
10:46 am

Poisoning suspected after over 1,000 head of cattle perish in KZN

T Worley

The cattle died after they were fed Molatek cattle feed, who have since conducted tests to confirm the feed was not the cause of death.

Results from the toxicology expert suggests poisoning as the cause, and Molatek are currently trying to determine if it was human error or deliberate. Image: iStock

Tests are still being conducted to determine what caused the death of over 1 000 cattle on a Wasbank farm in KwaZulu-Natal over the last two weeks.

The cattle died after they were fed cattle feed.

A video showing rows of dead cattle went viral on social media, sparking speculation that the animals were maliciously poisoned as a ”ploy of getting to the land”, reports Northern Natal Courier.

The cattle owner, who requested not to be named, said this was not true. He added that samples of the feed mix had been submitted to different laboratories for testing.

ALSO READ: Eastern Cape farmer under investigation for poisoning of cattle

In a statement posted on their website, Molatek, who supply the mix to the feedlot where the cattle perished, said:

“We are deeply saddened by the recent tragedy that struck a cattle feedlot near Dundee. Upon hearing of this incident, we immediately dispatched our most senior expert ruminant nutritionists as well as independent vet, and also contracted in external experts in different fields to investigate the possible cause of cattle deaths as well as minimise the losses.

Various samples of all raw materials were taken, and Molatek has already received over 200 results from different independent laboratories, they explained.

Results for Molatek production retention samples, as well as samples collected from the feedlot, confirmed that Molatek was within specifications, and was not the cause of death.

“We continue to support the owners of the feedlot through further tests done by experts to determine the cause. Results from the toxicology expert suggests poisoning as the cause, and we are currently trying to determine if it was human error or deliberate.

“Our confidence in our products, processes and controls are solidly in tact, but despite this we will use all the learnings to raise our own standards even further.”

Molatek is currently one of the leading animal feed companies in South Africa. Their products are sold in Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland.

The incident also attracted the attention of an SABC news crew that visited the area this week.

Kwanalu CEO, Sandy La Marque, told the Northern Natal Courier that Kwanalu had been informed that the feedlot is experiencing a serious problem, and that “tests are being conducted on the feed mix which has allegedly resulted in a number of animals perishing”.

“We believe that no foul play is suspected, and that the video post is being spread to destabilise the farming community. We call on all social media users to verify information and not to blindly forward posts”.

This was circulated to all provincial unions to “set the record straight”.

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