Foot and mouth disease strikes again

A third neighbouring state has now banned the importation of meat from South Africa after a newly discovered case of foot and mouth disease was detected on a farm in the Molemole district of Limpopo last week.

On Wednesday, the landlocked country of Swaziland decided to follow Botswana and Zimbabwe in suspending meat imports from South Africa after the second case of foot and mouth disease discovered this year.

This is terrible news for the agriculture sector, who have already been under immense pressure due to the ongoing drought, and according to Louis Meintjes, president of TLU SA, the state has failed to ensure preventative measures were in place to avoid this disaster.

“It is clear that the measures instituted to prevent foot and mouth disease are not enough and that they are not being enforced,” said Meintjes.

“The responsibility lies with the state, which is not doing its job for the umpteenth time, resulting in producers and the economy taking a knock.”

The recent outbreak was picked up in a feeding pen after an animal was bought on auction. Meintjes has urged all auctioneers to ensure that animals are healthy before they reach the auction yard.

“We are also calling on auctioneers to confirm the origin of stock and to ensure that the animals are healthy,” says Meintjes.

The game and meat industries are still struggling to find their feet after the previous case of the disease was discovered in the Vhembe district in February. - Bjorn Vorster

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