The Animal Identification Act (Act 6 of 2002) renders the marking of stock compulsory. This helps the industry and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to combat stock theft and recover stolen livestock more easily. It is, however, evident that most people and institutions trading in livestock do not comply with the regulations of the relevant legislation – thus they do not meet the basic requirements to combat stock theft.
Hot iron brands for cattle and tattoos for small stock remain the most cost-effective ways in which to mark these animal groups. The Animal Identification Act replaced the Livestock Brands Act (Act 87 of 1962). The new Act manages the national register for animal identification marks, serves as a strengthened line of defence against stock theft, simplifies the identification of property and aids tracing of animals.