SENIOR Minister Simon Khaya Moyo has accused livestock farmers of illegally culling pregnant or young cattle saying relevant laws should be enforced to halt the practice.
Khaya Moyo condemned the culling of pregnant and young cattle as criminal, uneconomic and against ZimAsset’s initiatives to rebuild the national herd.
“For us comrades in cattle rearing enterprises, the practice of culling productive cows and heifers must stop,” Moyo said.
“It has been brought to my attention that a significant number of female animals slaughtered in our abattoirs are pregnant or too young to be culled. We cannot rebuild our national herd successfully under these circumstances. It is my understanding that culling of such animals may be illegal and we need to enforce these laws.”
Moyo said this in his welcome speech prepared for presentation at the Zanu PF provincial co-ordinating committees consultative meeting held at Elangeni Training Centre on Sunday.
Moyo ended up speaking off the cuff.
“Comrades, your communities are the ones supplying pregnant cows for slaughter and I urge you to find ways of stopping this practice which is not only uneconomic, against ZimAsset, but may also be criminal,” he said.
Moyo indicated that there was need to intensify the heifer replacement programme and buy more breeding cattle in order to restock to commercially viable levels.
In his 2014 budget presentation, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the national herd, currently standing at 5,4 million beef and 27 000 dairy cows, had dwindled significantly since the 1980s due to erratic funding, disease outbreaks and drought, among other related factors.
Moyo said the revival of the cattle industry should go hand in hand with the revitalisation of the Cold Storage Company (CSC) and urged Zanu PF delegates to form consortiums that could recapitalise the parastatal in a joint venture.
“Who else should capitalise the cattle holdings of CSC when you are the owners of the cattle in the country?
Why do we complain of CSC not having any cattle and yet we haven’t tried to go into a joint venture using our collective and massive cattle holdings as community of the cattle-rich provinces?
“A revived CSC should have the clout to withstand local competition because you will now be slaughtering cattle in your own abattoir as a shareholder,” Moyo added.