W Cape horse sickness restrictions lifted

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Cape Town - Movement restrictions on Western Cape horses have been lifted following the resolution of a bout of African Horse Sickness, economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde said on Wednesday.

The provincial agriculture department issued restrictions for the Porterville, Wellington, and Robertson areas between March and May.

In total, 36 properties were affected and 96 cases of the sickness were confirmed. The mortality rate was 11%.

The last case of the sickness was reported in the Robertson area on May 21.

"This, together with the cold winter weather currently being experienced, allows for the lifting of the movement restrictions."

Winde said more work needed to be done for the country to export horses directly to the European Union without unjustified strict measures by the EU and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Currently, local horses were exported via Mauritius, where they were quarantined for three months, incurring a loss of horse conditioning and an increase in transport costs.

According to Winde, the horse export industry was worth R250m, but had the potential to reach R1bn if more favourable trade regulations applied.

General movement restrictions of horses from other provinces into the Western Cape would remain in place and be reviewed as necessary.

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