Quarantine for KZN livestock

2011-03-21 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (KwaNalu) yesterday welcomed the decision by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to declare northern KwaZulu-Natal infected with foot-and-mouth disease.

On Saturday, the minister announced that the area between Mtubatuba and the north of the Mfolozi River in northern KwaZulu-Natal is infected with the livestock disease.

The disease was detected in the area three weeks ago.

A team of experts that included veterinarians and technicians from the ministry’s national office and their provincial counterparts in KZN was sent to conduct tests on cloven-hooved animals.

KwaNalu president Robin Barnsley said the minister can now enforce the ban on the movement of animals in that area.

“Up to this point, the minister has only been able to request that animals should not be moved around in that zone ….”

He said the outbreak is already having catastrophic consequences.

“The outbreak is already affecting the game farmers in that region as this is the hunting season.

“The beef farmers are also losing money as they can no longer trade with their young animals and now they have no money coming in.

The Agriculture Department said 14 roadblocks at the borders of the infected area had been set up by provincial law enforcement agencies.

The protection zone will be around the infected area, with the N2 as the northern boundary, the N1 to the west and N3 to the south. This area will be used as a high-surveillance zone where no movement restrictions are imposed.

The department said it is still working to identify the new strain.

Joemat-Pettersson said the disease is under control and that the intensified surveillance and investigations will continue to ensure that it is kept under control.

“We wish to reassure our trading partners and the domestic industry affected by the ban on exports and the movement of animals that we are mindful of the economic impact caused by the outbreak of the disease and we will spare no effort to ensure that we curb the disease,” she said.

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