The National Department of Agriculture has taken the decision to suspend all movement of cattle in the whole country, Minister Thoko Didiza announced on Tuesday.
The Minister’s decision is aimed at halting the continued spread of Foot and Mouth Disease in the country. It also means that cattle may not be moved from one property to another for any reason for a period of 21 days – reviewable weekly.
South Africa is currently experiencing 116 outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), involving farms, feedlots and communal areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State Provinces.
In her public statement, the Minister acknowledged the efforts made by farmers, communities and industries to curb illegal movements of animals from known positive areas, and to improve biosecurity on animal holdings.
However, the disease continues to spread, with 15 new properties and two new provinces affected in the last two weeks alone, according to the department.
The ban has been declared in Government Gazette and any disregard for the movement ban will be labelled as a criminal offense.
Exception will only be upon veterinary permit for:
(i) Cattle for direct slaughter at registered abattoirs
(ii) Slaughter for ritual purposes
“Cattle that are already at shows, auctions and enroute into the republic will be given 48 hours to be permitted to move to final destination after being sold; the local state veterinary office should be contacted for these permits” said Minister Didiza.
She warned perpetrators illegally moving cattle that they will be prosecuted for contravention of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act no 35 of 1984).