Wednesday, December 7, 2022

FMD: Conditions for moving animals

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Earlier this week the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) announced a national ban on the movement of cattle. This drastic intervention follows the recent rapid spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in South Africa. There are currently active outbreaks in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal and new outbreaks continue to be detected. South Africa’s ability to export animal products has already been affected and animal production efficiency has been damaged, not to mention the animal suffering caused by this disease.

FMD: Movement of cattle prohibited for 21 days

All cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, are susceptible to the disease. However, cattle are the main species affected by the current outbreak, with sheep playing a small role in disease transmission. The disease has an incubation period of up to 14 days, during which it can spread without the animal showing any signs of illness. The movement of infected cattle is the biggest cause of disease spread, hence the ban. People, vehicles and equipment are also an important cause of spread, therefore emphasis must be placed on the disinfection of vehicle wheels and equipment that move between farms. People should also be very careful not to handle other animals within five days of having contact with suspected sick animals, and to change or clean footwear and clothing when leaving any farm. 

Currently, the movement ban applies only to cattle, but we call on owners to handle the movement of all susceptible animals, responsibly. Farmers are advised to purchase animals only from reliable sources, with a clear animal health history, and preferably not from affected provinces. Farmers are strongly advised against buying livestock at auctions, where animals from different places gather and mix. This remains a major risk for the spread of FMD. To reduce the risk of contamination, a health declaration by a private veterinarian should accompany the animals, stating that they do not come from a FMD-affected area and that they were clinically healthy when inspected, which should not be more than two days before they move. Purchased animals should then be quarantined for a period of 28 days before mixing with the rest of the herd.

Conditions for moving animals

Cattle may only move for direct slaughter under the following conditions:

  1. All animals that will be moved must be individually identified with ear tags.
  2. Owners must apply for a Red Cross Movement Permit from the state veterinarian responsible for the premises of origin, stating the addresses of the premises of origin and of destination and number of animals to be moved as well as their own full name and ID number. 
  3. The application must include a declaration by a private veterinarian that the animals did not show any clinical signs of a controlled disease.
  4. The animals must be inspected by a private veterinarian on the day of the movement.
  5. Animals may be slaughtered for religious or cultural reasons, provided that they are slaughtered on the premises where they are kept, and the meat may not be sold for human or animal consumption.

The ban will be reviewed on a weekly basis and will be lifted as soon as the disease situation improves. For more information and clarification on the ban on the movement of cattle, or to apply for a Red Cross Movement Permit, your local state veterinarian office can be contacted via the methods listed below. To check which State Vet area you are in, use the map available at: https://www.elsenburg.com/veterinary-services/animal-health -and-disease-control/

State Vet OfficeState VetTelephone NumberEmail Address
BolandDr Buhrmann021 808  5253Gary.Buhrmann@westerncape.gov.za/ svboland@westerncape.gov.za
BolandDr Malan021 808  5253                                                Vivien.Malan@westerncape.gov.za/ svboland@westerncape.gov.za
GeorgeDr Janse van Rensburg044 803 3771/ 0Leana.JanseVanRensburg@westerncape.gov.za/ svgeorge@westerncape.gov.za
SwellendamDr Kloppers021 808 5059/ 028 425 4850Christiaan.Kloppers@westerncape.gov.za/ svswellendam@westerncape.gov.za
MalmesburyDr Swart022 433 8915/ 0Michael.Swart@westerncape.gov.za svmalmesbury@westerncape.gov.za
VredendalDr Lombard027 201 3514/ 0Chanel.Lombard@westerncape.gov.za/ svvredendal@westerncape.gov.za
Beaufort    WestDr Pienaar023 414 9220/ 1Jaco.Pienaar@westerncape.gov.za/ svbeaufortwest@westerncape.gov.za
OudtshoornDr Fox044 203 9443/ 5Cathy.Fox@westerncape.gov.za/ svoudtshoorn@westerncape.gov.za
WorcesterDr Pepler021 808 5052Ansulize.Pepler@westerncape.gov.za/ svworcester@westerncape.gov.za

To learn more about FMD, visit the WCDoA website: https://bit.ly/3PpeK8R. – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture

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