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To Be or Not To Be an S.O.B.
An Editorial by
Keith Smith

Goats, and livestock in general for that matter, don't come with much of a guarantee. We seem to have a hard enough time keeping them healthy and reproductive in our own pastures much less divining the management style and methods of our buyers. The opportunities for misunderstanding and animosity are so numerous as to be almost uncountable whenever livestock changes hands.

The minimum requirement to protect yourself both as a buyer and as a seller is to have everything possible in writing. We provide a purchase agreement with each animal that we sell. We request a purchase agreement for every animal we buy.
This is the text of our "guarantee":

 

 

 

Purchase Agreement

 

Buyers Name:____________________________________________________

Mailing Address:__ ________________________________________________

City, State & Zip:__ ________________________________________________

Phone:_____________________ _____________________________________

Alt. Phone or FAX:_________________________________________________

 

On this date ___________we sold to the party named above, the following Boer Goat(s):

 

Description:                                                                                                     Price

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Method of Payment ________________________Total Amt. Paid_________________

 

Received by _________________________________.

 

Seller’s Disclaimer & Buyer’s Responsibilities

 

[ insert your name and/or farm name here ] (hereafter referenced as "Seller"), is making the goat(s) referenced above available to ______________________ (Buyer) on a "where is, as is" basis, and other than guaranteeing Buyer that said goat(s) are in good health, are free of injury or disease at the date of sale, and that same will breed if provided with the proper care, environment, and nutrition, Seller makes no other guarantees or warranties, either expressed or implied. Any subsequent claims by Buyer, contesting Seller’s representation as to the health, physical condition, or breeding soundness of the subject goat(s) at date of sale must be fully substantiated by a physical examination and applicable medical tests performed by a licensed veterinarian and provided in writing to the Seller.

 

Applicable registration certificates or registration applications will be provided to Buyer within fifteen (15) days of Seller’s receipt of payment-in-full for the subject purchase, and Seller has confirmed that said payment is in valid funds.

 

All expenses pertaining to the transportation of the purchased goat(s) from or to the facilities of [ insert your name and/or farm name here ] to or from the Buyer’s facilities are the responsibility of the Buyer.

 

Accepted and agreed to this _______________, [year]:

 

By:__________________________________  ___________________________________

            (Buyer’s Printed Name)                                      (Buyer’s Signature)


 

This does not cover everything that can happen but it does provide a basis for mutual understanding of the rules. As a buyer you know in advance that you are responsible for the animal as soon as it is loaded on your trailer. You know that you have to take care of it and if you don't a vet won't back your claim for reimbursement. You know that if the animal is not as represented you *do* have recourse.
Readers are free to use this "sales agreement" in connection with their own goat operation. Just remember that this is NOT legal advice but is offered as a solution that seems to work for KLS Boer Goats.

But what else can you, as a seller, do to protect both yourself and the buyer from misunderstandings?

First, Animal health - Make sure you are selling a healthy animal. Always treat for external parasites, administer a probiotic, trim hooves, de-worm, and vaccinate out-going animals in the presence of the buyer just before they are loaded. It doesn't matter if you just did it yesterday or if you haven't done it since last year; the buyer has a right to know that you have a policy of insuring that they get a healthy animal.
Never, Never, inject C/D&T vaccine anywhere from the shoulders forward! If the injection should cause an abscess on the neck or shoulder the buyer can mistake it for CL. This can lead to a very nasty round of exchanges between yourself and the buyer specially if they do not have easy access to a qualified goat veterinarian. Always inject vaccines just in front of the rear leg or just behind the front leg. And do it in the same place every time on every goat you ever own. That way there can be no question where it was given.
Recommend that the animal(s) receive thiamin in the form of vitamin B in their drinking water during transportation and for a few days after they arrive at their new home. This will help boost their immune system and relieve the stresses involved in travel and being put into a new environment.
Give (yes I wrote "give") the new owner enough feed for 3-4 days. Tell them to gradually shift the goats from the feed that you provide to the feed that they will be getting at their new home.

Second, Share Information - There are as many ways of managing livestock as there are livestock owners. Discuss your herd health and management style and methods with your buyer. This will show them that you understand the requirements for healthy animals and it helps them form or modify their own management system. You will probably pick up a few pointers yourself.

Third, Animal Identification - Every registered animal must have some type of permanent identification. Check the tattoos or other permanent identification of the animal(s) and *require* that the buyer check them too.
After a particularly nasty experience we have a policy of photographing the proud new owners with their new goats before they leave. We offer to send them a copy so this can be a service to the buyer. It is also evidence in case they try to return a goat and forgot what breeder they bought it from.

Fourth, Quarantine - Your farm has it's own set of bugs. Your buyer's farm has another set that their new goats don't have immunity to. If at all practical tell the buyer to keep the new goats on the trailer for 48 hours before they are unloaded. This allows any living parasite eggs to be cleared out of the goats' system. Tell the buyer about the necessity of cleaning the hooves of the goats before they are released into their new pen. Recommend that the animals be quarantined at their new home for a minimum of two weeks and that they be de-wormed twice during that period with whatever analthemic the buyer normally uses.

Finally, Educate - Type up a one-page "How to Treat Your New Goat" sheet and give it to all new goat owners. Describe on this sheet the basics of goat health, feeding, and management as it applies to your geographic area. Don't try to cover everything - just the basics. Include a list of resources both in print and on the www.

There are many factors involved in animal husbandry that have to be taken into account when placing the "blame" when an animal doesn't survive or perform to expectations. Make sure that you protect yourself in your role as a buyer or as a seller. And above all else, be reasonable in either role. Put yourself in the other person's position *before* demanding restitution or denying "after the sale" support.

An excellent article on this subject is "Goat Wise" by Paulette Wohnoutka. It was published in the Fall/Winter 2000 edition of The Boer Goat magazine.


 

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