Livestock ban

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Emerging farmers call on high court to lift nationwide ban on livestock

The livestock ban was implemented by the (DALRRD) last year after foot and mouth disease (FMD) was detected in Limpopo in September.

Livestock ban

Image via Adobe Stock

An application by a group of about 50 emerging farmers and other stakeholders to lift a nationwide ban on livestock auctions will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday 14 January 2020. 

According to the African News Agency (ANA), the ban was implemented by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development (DALRRD) last year after foot and mouth disease (FMD) broke out in Limpopo in September.

Livestock ban ‘irrational’ 

The applicants are seeking the ban to be lifted in eight of the country’s nine provinces where the disease has not been reported, saying the decision to implement the ban, taken by minister Thoko Didiza, was “irrational”.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Noko Masipa, a member of the portfolio committee for the department, said on Monday 13 January, that the party welcomed the applicants taking the matter to court.

“The DA has consistently called on minister Didiza to lift this moratorium on non-affected areas and deal decisively with FMD outbreak as per the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines,” said Masipa.

“It is unfortunate that amid a national drought, farmers are now being forced to go to court to ensure they can conduct their ordinary business of trading livestock. Moreover, it is regrettable that minister Didiza is not following the clear OIE guidelines on what exactly needs to be done with any outbreak of FMD,” added Masipa.

DALRRD failed to contain FMD outbreak 

He alleged that, to date, the department had failed to:

  • Disinfect all affected farms and vehicles in the affected regions;
  • Create visible policing that monitored all movements of livestock-carrying vehicles in the province to ensure quarantine was enforced;
  • Allocate a budget to fight the outbreak;
  • Conduct routine inoculation, post the Vhembe District disease outbreak, because of a lack of vaccines and similar strains being found in the region;
  • And inform authorities to take all steps to protect the spread of the disease.

“The severity of this outbreak cannot be downplayed as the last outbreak of FMD in January 2019 resulted in a brief ban on South African wool and meat exports, which cost the economy in excess of R10 billion. We again call on the minister to take immediate action before it is too late,” said Masipa.

14 Limpopo farms affected by livestock ban 

According to the department’s spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo, 14 farms in Limpopo with an estimated 20 000 herds of cattle are affected.

“We can confirm that there’s no decision that has been taken to uplift the ban on the movement of animals,” said Ngcobo. 

“We are working very closely with the industry to come up with movement control measures to ensure that when the minister is advised to uplift the ban, then there are control measures in place,” he added.