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A government ban on the movement of cattle was ill-conceived

Aug 18, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

ActionSA has called on the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to reconsider and revoke what it called the illogical knee-jerk decree to ban cattle movement before implementing various interventions that do not threaten to decimate the livelihoods of the cattle industry. The Minister prohibited the movement of livestock across all provinces after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Radio Islam International speaks to ActionSA’s Athol Trollip.

Regarding the reaction of farmers and others in the industry following the announcement of the ban on the movement of livestock, Athol said the people of the Eastern Cape feel this ban is too draconian and ill-considered as there has been no outbreak in the Eastern Cape for years of foot and mouth. 

He says in South Africa, a red line in the Northern provinces where foot and mouth occur endemically. This disease has been around for millennia on the African continent. It’s a very debilitating disease, and it does threaten biosecurity, so we applaud any coherent and systematic initiatives to eradicate this disease and stamp it out. But to simply put, a blanket band for 21 days doesn’t mean after the 21 days, foot and mouth won’t be around as it has been for hundreds of years. 

“We believe that the much more coherent way is to identify the areas where there are incidences of foot and mouth. Bring all the stakeholders together, identify the farms in which foot and mouth are found, assess the animals and treat the animals found with foot and mouth, and this would be the best way to contain this disease.”

According to Athol, the ban has been an illogical reason. For more than a year in South Africa, we have not been able to export wool to China, which consumes about 70 per cent of exported products. Because China won’t accept the wool as we have these outbreaks of foot and mouth. 

He says a 21-day ban will not achieve anything as we do not have the workforce, financial resources, SAPS, or defence force resources to adequately police that animals are not transported. 

Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.

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