Paula Lakhoff

| Bruce Whitfield interviews auctioneer Jack Reid, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlob and former DG Agriculture Mike Mlengana.

– The government has announced the suspension of all cattle movements within South Africa due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease

– The ban is valid for 21 days and will be reviewed weekly

The government has announced the suspension of cattle movements in South Africa due to the ongoing outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

This means cattle cannot be moved from one property to another for any reason for a 21 day, weekly inspection period.

There are exceptions – with veterinary approval – for slaughter:

– cattle for direct slaughter at registered slaughterhouses

– Cattle for slaughter for ritual purposes

Cattle already at shows and auctions or heading to South Africa will be given 48 hours to move to their final destination after the sale.

In order to obtain the necessary permits, one must contact the local state veterinary service, according to a statement by Toko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

There are currently 116 outbreaks on farms, feedlots and communal areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

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Bruce Whitfield got the answer from Mike Mlengana, a cattle farmer and former Director General of Agriculture.

He also spoke to Wandile Sihloba (Chief Economist of the South African Chamber of Agribusiness) and Jacka Reed (Owner of J&B Livestock Market & Auctioneers).

Given the contagious nature of foot-and-mouth disease, the government (following consultations with red meat stakeholders) has taken the appropriate decision to contain the disease, says Mlengana.

Sihlobo notes that they are still waiting for the publication of the decision to get details.

He agrees that the government made the right decision with the ban, and in the near term.

We know there will be limited traffic in the first 21 days… This is a **record level because we haven’t seen anything like this in recent times… but there will be a lot of financial pressure on the industry.

Wandile Sihloba, Chief Economist, SA Chamber of Agribusiness

Sigloba agrees that the government took action a little late, but believes the initial 21-day ban will help isolate hotspots.

Given that there is an exemption for slaughter purposes, the consumer should not see a shortage of beef, he says.

An earlier, lesser ban would have been preferable, Reid says, “but what we have to do is what we have to do at this stage.”

As far as I know it started in Vhemba in Limpopo… the red zone… people were illegally transporting animals that were already affected across the red line to auctions in the North West… the problem spread to Gauteng but, on luckily we stopped her…

Jaco Reid. Owned by J&B Livestock Market & Auctioneers

You are buying animals you don’t know about. That’s why I have a person at my auction who checks all the animals for signs of foot and mouth…

Jaco Reid. Owned by J&B Livestock Market & Auctioneers

Even in March, in the North West… we saw that the government is not capable of handling this situation… Now it looks like a merry fire with huge wings behind it….

Jaco Reid. Owned by J&B Livestock Market & Auctioneers

Scroll to the top of the article to listen to the interview

This article first appeared on CapeTalk: Government bans cattle transport: ‘action should have been taken earlier to stop foot-and-mouth disease’

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