Facts about livestock theft in Punjab, Pakistan

There is yet another paper on this topic, I know you are weary of it, but I remain glued to the screen, so here goes:

Stock theft is an endemic crime particularly affecting deep rural areas of Pakistan. Analysis of a series of cases was conducted to describe features of herds and farmers who have been the victims of cattle and/buffalo theft in various villages of Punjab in Pakistan during the year 2012. A structured interview was administered to a sample of fifty three affected farmers. The following were the important findings: i) incidents of theft were more amongst small scale farmers, ii) the rate of repeat victimization was high, iii) stealing was the most common modus operandi, iv) the majority of animals were adult, having high sale values, v) more cases occurred during nights with crescent moon, vi) only a proportion of victims stated to have the incident reported to the police, vii) many farmers had a history of making compensation agreements with thieves, viii) foot tracking failed in the majority of the cases, ix) all the respondents were willing to invest in radio frequency identification devices and advocated revision of existing laws. The study has implications for policy makers and proposes a relationship between crime science and veterinary medicine.

The link is here, and for the pointer I thank Ben Southwood.  This is in fact a significant and understudied topic in development economics, namely small-scale predation in rural settings.

Not surprisingly, that piece appeared in the Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift.


The Kalenjins of Kenya who win so many Olympic medals in distance running have a tradition of young men raiding cattle from neighboring villages. The fastest runners get home with the riches and are favored by the maidens, while the slowest runners get a spear in the back: Evolution in action.


Wouldn't your speed be set by the slowest stolen cow?

Actually, it it set by the fastest cow owner...

Cows can run pretty fast.

That link says literally nothing about cattle, cattle theft, raiding, spears, or maidens. It talks about the benefits of the tribes' unique body shape (thin ankles are apparently a must for marathoners) and posits that they are prepared for the painful rigors of marathoning by undergoing adult circumcision (speculative).

Sorry, I saw that it quoted John Manners, who grew up among the Kalenjin, but apparently it left out the good stuff from him. For the Manners theory, see David Epstein's "The Sports Gene" (or ask the President, who bought the book himself last Christmas) or my old article


"The study has implications for policy makers..."

Why must every study contain this phrase?

It's uncouth.

I agree. Down with implications!

Good question. More study is needed.

I would like to see a comparative study of goat theft in Jamaica

Cattle stealing has been a popular sport in that area since the Rig Veda. Why stop now?

Funny how the followers of Ronald Coase, peace be upon him, have an obsession with cattle.

Theft in the Panjab! I've always said the Company couldn't keep order there - crown rule in India is the only way I say!

I see an opportunity for professional gunfighters.

"This is in fact a significant and understudied topic in development economics, namely small-scale predation in rural settings."

Because no one has ever before suggested that rule of law and security of property were important cornerstones to economic development. How moronic are development advisers?

Eight hundred and fifty years ago Bishop Absalon took on the task of the economic rehabilitation of the area now occupied by Copenhagen. The first thing he did was to send in soldiers and the first thing the soldiers did was build a fort and the second thing the soldiers did was to terrorize local brigands and pirates into good behavior. Absalon was so successful that the area became known as "Merchants Harbor" - Købmannahavn in Danish - which has been corrupted into the modern Kobenhavn/Copenhagen. Absalon knew you needed law and order for the economy to grow. (Copenhagen can also be seen as an early example of a Charter city.)

You've got it all wrong. This is Ala Kachuu.

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