AT a stock-theft awareness campaign held in Nkwezela community hall in Bulwer on November 6, farmers asked the government to assist in bringing an end to stock theft which has affected their production. They complained about cows being slaughtered by criminals who then disappear with the meat.Wayne McNamara, who works with commercial and rural farmers in Bulwer, said there was one incident reported recently of four cows that were slaughtered on commercial farms and another 17 from rural farms.He said the plague is mostly affecting rural farmers who do not have resources such as security guards on their farms. According to McNamara, it is not easy to catch thieves because they steal cows and slaughter them in the nearby wooded areas.“Rural farmers have been assisted with branding their cows and have been provided with security guards who are moving around their villages to end stock theft. Commercial and rural farmers have partnered with SAPS to end stock theft and we need government support,” he said.Ward 9 Councillor Mhleli Dlamini shared the same sentiment, and called for farmers to brand their stock. He said most farmers in the area are not protected and as a result criminals are doing as they please. He asked the courts to give criminals heavy sentences.Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Municipality Deputy Mayor Philani Shange said stock theft has affected the local economy negatively.The MEC for the Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, also attended the event and promised that government will do its best to end stock theft.