'No movement of cloven hoofed animal across borders is allowed until further notice,' say KwaZulu-Natal MECs
6 Mar 2011
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, Lydia Johnson together with the KZN MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, spent this past weekend meeting with rural livestock owners in Mkhanyakude District where they allayed fears that livestock and rural livestock owner’s livelihood is to be killed as a measure to contain the spread of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the area.
During the meetings held in Bhambanana, Manyiseni, Mngomezulu and Hlabisa, the MECs accompanied by provincial agriculture management and state veterinarians, dispelled the misconception about the possibility of killing livestock yet. They also informed livestock owners about the findings of the ongoing survey on the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the area and containment strategies being implemented on the ground.
Johnson reiterated that there is no need to panic as there is currently no talk or need of killing livestock to contain the disease at this stage.
“While the disease itself is bad but its spread has not reached far which is why we have set up 24 hour road blocks on strategic access routes to the district to contain it within the area where it has been identified,” said Johnson.
She urged livestock owners to cooperate in containment of the virus by bringing livestock to dipping tanks where vaccinations will be administered by technicians who are on the ground.
“You are also urged to identify those livestock owners who have reasons beyond our understanding for not bringing cattle to dip tanks but keep them in forests,” she said
Johnson said all vaccinated animals will be branded on the neck and any animal that remains without a brand mark after the vaccinations must be reported and its owner must also be identified. She also urged owners to ensure that all their cattle are branded for identification if they are lost.
MEC Mabuyakhulu said the setting up of road blocks means that from today going forward, there is a total ban on animal movement across, district, provincial and international borders until they are sure that the virus has been eliminated and that cross border trading is safe.
“If you want to pay lobola to a family across your border or any other traditional ritual that requires cattle and you were hoping to buy it across the border, you are advised to suspend such arrangement until further notice. However, buying, slaughtering and eating meat from cows bought within your district boundary is allowed and you can pay lobola” too said MEC Mabuyakhulu.
Mabuyakhulu explained the economic implications that comes with the existence of FMD in South Africa and internationally.
“This effectively means all meat exports from South Africa have been banned. This means if you made livelihood by selling cows which are then sold outside South Africa as meat, or any product of it, you are out of business until those countries are assured that the problem has been completely eliminated. If livestock owners do not cooperate with government in the containment and elimination of the virus, export business will suffer for longer and eventually the spread of the virus will lead into a decision to kill all cattle in affected areas as a way to eliminate the virus,” said MEC Mabuyakhulu.
He added that anyone transporting cloven hoofed animals at the road blocks will be turned away and those who smuggle animals and those who refuse to bring animals to dip tanks for vaccination will face the full might of the law.
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development and Tourism
6 Mar 2011
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