– Buyers Beware –
Normally, our newsletters are quarterly, but this topic is so important that it needs to get out there. Many of you are on this list to keep up with available calves/cows for sale which means you are wanting to find a Highland for sale. There is something you need to be aware of since it has become an increasing problem lately.
SCAMMERS HAVE RECENTLY BECOME ACTIVE IN THE HIGHLAND MARKET.
It is so unfortunate that we have to question everything these days, but as fall calves have started to be born, many of us love to post pictures of these adorable arrivals to share some joy in a world that has become quite controversial.
However, there are con artists who will seize on any opportunity to part people from their money, and they are using these pictures to try to make a quick buck at the expense of anyone who has fallen in love with this breed.
This is an example of a recent scheme: This picture was stolen from Stepping Stone Acres, a very reputable Missouri Highland breeder. Permission was granted for its use here.
You can see that the scammer, John Granit, is a new member of the Canadian Highland Cattle FB group. Further investigation reveals that his FB account was new, and had a profile picture of the Stepping Stone Acres’ Bull.
That account has been taken down. Like most scammers, though, he’ll likely reappear as another name, but the red flags will be there.
Here’s how the scam works: A picture of a newborn highland is stolen from a FB post, a FB account is created and the picture is posted as a calf for sale. It is often even brazenly shared on a Highland breeders page. Where it is identified and taken down, but sometimes not quickly enough to prevent an anxious buyer from losing a substantial amount of money.
Some red flags to help identify a scammer:
• The calf is too young to be weaned (calves should stay with mom until 6-8 months old) but is for sale anyway.
• The FB account is new and there are few if any other Highland breeders as friends
• The calf is advertised as a mini (not always, only if posted on a “mini” page)
• The calf is advertised as a bottle calf
• Person posting is not a member of any Highland associations
• Up front payment is needed immediately to secure the sale.
If you aren’t sure, ask a breeder you trust to help you check on the seller. We all want to stop this exploitation of our beautiful breed.
Some thoughts on bottle babies…
A reputable breeder will not sell a calf before it is weaned and its digestive system has developed enough to easily handle hay and grass. This is a common sense health issue for the calves.
That is not the only reason, a calf raised on a bottle, while it is very tame, will consider the human as one of its own species. This can be painful when a 500# baby decides to play. There are also many documented instances when a bottle fed bull has become extremely dangerous to the point of killing its owner.
Only in the event of the death of the cow, lack of milk produced by the cow, or total rejection of the calf should a bottle become the answer. Even then, if a surrogate cow can be found, that is a far better solution.
Successful raising of a bottle calf is work intensive and the outcome is iffy. Many an inexperienced person who has attempted this, has been disappointed when they were unable to save the calf.