Poisened: family quarrel link in case of 54 dead cattle

2010-03-17 00:00

A MOOI River farmer and another man appeared in the local magistrate’s court on Friday in connection with the alleged poisoning of 54 dairy cows.

The accused, Peter Kean (47) and Vusumuzi Jali, have not yet pleaded to the charges and the case was postponed until April 6 for further investigation. They are on bail.

The cows belonged to Kean’s brother, James, who farms on a neighbouring property in Mooi River.

The poisoning — which according to Mooi River prosecutor Brian Ross, was allegedly caused by a type of of fertiliser mixed into the cows’ drinking water — is alleged to have arisen as a result of a long-standing family feud between Peter Kean and other family members.

A dispute between the brothers allegedly concerns the use of water from a dam on the boundary between their farms.

Contacted by The Witness this week, James Kean said he preferred not to comment on the pending court case against his brother. “I think we should let the law take its course,” he said.

Kean agreed it was a “bad day” when he found 54 of his cows dead in the camp in which they had been left overnight on December 6, 2008.

The alarm was raised at about 4.30 am when the farm’s dairy manager reported having found some dead cows. It was later established that a total of 54 had died.

Veterinary surgeons diagnosed nitrogen poisoning — which results in suffocation — as the cause of death.

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