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Stop illegal movement of animals out of foot and mouth areas: Didiza

Foot and mouth disease is now present in five provinces. Stock photo.
Foot and mouth disease is now present in five provinces. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf

SA is battling 56 cases of foot and mouth disease (FMD) at farms and communal areas in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Gauteng.

Agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza said on Monday that despite these outbreaks, the government was working hard to clear up the situation.

Didiza said maximum co-operation from all stakeholders in the sector was necessary to achieve control of the outbreaks.

“It is important that everyone commits and respects all imposed control measures and collectively find a sustainable solution.”

The department said the outbreaks were caused by illegal movements of animals out of FMD-controlled zones in Limpopo. 

It was illegal to move cloven-hoofed animals and their products out of the FMD protection zone without permission from the state veterinary services, it said.

“I call on all citizens of SA to stop the illegal movement of animals out of FMD-affected areas. The damage caused by continued FMD outbreaks have a severe negative impact on the economy of the country, as well as the individual animal owners,” Didiza said.

She said a 49-year-old man was arrested at Masisi in the Vhembe district of Limpopo for bringing goats from the FMD-controlled zone into the free zone.

Another case where animals were illegally moved from an FMD-controlled area to auctions in two provinces is under investigation.

Didiza said laboratory testing confirmed an outbreak of FMD between Potchefstroom and Ventersdorp in the North West. Disease investigations by the North West provincial veterinary services found that the virus had spread to adjacent farms within a 10km radius. 

FMD-positive farms were also detected in Gauteng and the Free State through tracing from an auction near Potchefstroom, which took place in March and from direct sales from infected farms before the infections were detected.

The department said there were now seven positive farms linked to this outbreak — five in the North West, one in Gauteng and one in the Free State.

In Thulamela district, Limpopo, FMD-infected dip tanks were identified in a previously FMD-free area to the north of the disease management area, which was declared in 2019.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a further two FMD-positive dip tanks were found in the Big Five Hlabisa municipality and Jozini municipality. 

After the disease initially seemed to be under control in the disease management area, which was declared in September 2021, the subsequent illegal movement of animals led to the disease spreading.

One of the cases was as a result of the movement of cattle for a lobola ritual. 

The department said all affected farms, dip tanks and other premises in the five affected provinces were placed under quarantine and no cloven-hoofed animals were allowed to be moved from these locations.

TimesLIVE


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