Sale and resale of livestock

Identification of animals (section 6)

The stipulations of section 6 of the Stock Theft Act and section 7(2) of the Animal Identification Act (see Chapter 1, p. 15) refer. The stipulations of these two sections should be read together as they complement each other in any buying and selling transaction.

Section 6(1) of the Stock Theft Act:

Any person (including any auctioneer, agent or market master who sells, barters, gives or in any other manner disposes of any stock to any other person) shall at the time of delivery to such other person of the stock so sold, bartered, given or disposed of, furnish such other person with a document (hereinafter called a document of identification).

Section 6 regulates the document of identification that must be furnished by the seller.

  • Most transactions take place at livestock auctions, but the section is also applicable when animals are sold out of hand.
  • No person is excluded from the stipulations of the two acts. Everyone is included – auctioneers, agents, feedlot staff and the market master.

Requirements that documents of identification have to comply with [section 6(1)(a)]

Documents of identification must contain the following information:

  • Full name and address of the stock owner.
  • If stock is sold, bartered, given or disposed of on behalf of another person, the name and address of that person must be provided.
  • Full name and address of the person to whom the stock was sold, bartered, given or disposed of.
  • Date on which the stock was sold, bartered, given or disposed of.
  • Certification that such stock is the person’s own property or that he is duly authorised by the owner of the stock to deal with or dispose of it.
  • The seller may not allege only verbally to be authorised to trade the stock. Authorisation must be explicit and in writing and must be in the person’s possession.
  • The date of authorisation must be recent. An outdated authorisation may not be presented.

In terms of the Stock Theft Act, such a document of identification must contain the following details:

  • the breed or type of stock
  • the number of stock sold
  • the brand mark, tattoo or any other identification mark
  • the sex, number and colour of the stock in the case of stock not marked in the prescribed manner, or if the mark is not registered according to any legislation.

The concession with regard to unmarked stock is only applicable if the stock concerned does not have to be marked under the Animal Identification Act.

Obligation of the receiver of the stock [section 6(2)]

The person who acquires the stock may not receive the stock without receiving the document of identification at the time of delivery. If a person receives the stock without the document, such a person is guilty of an offence.

Retaining a document of identification

The person to whom a document of identification is issued, must retain such document in his possession for a period of at least one year. If someone requests to see the document during this period of one year, the owner of the document of identification must have it available for inspection or present it to the person requesting to see it.

Who has liability? Stock Theft Act, section 6:

Any person who delivers any stock to an auctioneer, agent or market master for the purpose of sale or disposal in any other manner, shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have disposed of such stock to such auctioneer, agent or market master.

Any person who delivers livestock to an auctioneer to sell or trade otherwise, must furnish such auctioneer, agent or market master with a document of identification. This means that the ownership is indirectly transferred to the auctioneer, agent or market master; as such the auctioneer, agent or market master is then responsible for issuing a document of identification to the new owner.

Offences in terms of section 6

Any person who contravenes a stipulation in the Stock Theft Act, fails to make the document available on request, or purposely provides false information in the document of identification, is guilty of an offence.

To demonstrate the importance of the application of section 6, the following findings are quoted from the case of Crots v Pretorius (A61/2008) [2008] ZAFSHC 146 (29 November 2008):

  • “although the respondent is an experienced stock dealer, he did not comply with any of the regulations of the Stock Theft Act No. 57 of 1959 in respect of prescribed documents for a stock transaction:
  • “he accepted delivery of the stock he bought, without having received a document of identification issued by the owner of the stock and in which the identity of the owner of the stock, the animals, the buyer, and details of the stock transaction are mentioned; thus he contravened the regulations of section 6(2), read together with section 6(1) of the Stock Theft Act;
  • “he sold and delivered the stock to Country Meat Abattoirs, and had the animals slaughtered without furnishing a document of identification at the time of delivery of the stock and thus contravened the regulations of section 6(1) of the Stock Theft Act.”

Resale of stock Animal Identification Act, section 7(2):

Selling No person may –

(a) within 14 days of the date on which he or she becomes the owner of an animal with an identification mark, sell, barter, give away or in any other manner dispose of that animal to another person, unless he or she furnishes a document of identification to the person who acquires that animal; or
(b) after 14 days of the date on which he or she becomes the owner of an animal, sell, barter, give away or in any other manner dispose of that animal unless –
(i) such animal has been marked in the prescribed manner with the identification mark of the owner disposing of that animal; and
(ii) he or she furnishes the person acquiring that animal with a document of identification.

  • Any owner of an animal with an identification mark wanting to sell, barter or give away the animal within 14 days of the date on which the person became the owner, must furnish the new owner with a document of identification.
  • This means that the animal can be disposed of within 14 days without having been marked with the new owner’s mark, because it already has the previous owner’s mark and a document of identification has been issued.
  • Any person wanting to sell, barter or give away an animal 14 days after the date on which this person became the owner of such animal, must put their own mark on the animal before they dispose of it.
  • The owner must also furnish the new owner with a document of identification, which the new owner must keep for a period of one year.
  • Such animal cannot be disposed of after 14 days without the new owner’s identification mark on the animal and without an identification document.