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NC on high alert for foot and mouth disease

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The Northern Cape has been put on high alert for foot and mouth disease following outbreaks in the North West and Free State provinces.

Picture: AP/John Cogill

THE NORTHERN Cape has been put on high alert for foot and mouth disease following outbreaks in the North West and Free State provinces.

Spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform Zandisile Luphahla said conducted targeted surveillance was being carried out at known places of animal congregation.

The MEC for the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Mase Manopole, urged farmers in the province, to maintain their vigilance.

“While officials can conduct surveillance, a farmer or persons involved in trade of animals and animal products has a duty to ensure that the disease is not introduced onto their property and that they know the health status of the animals they buy.”

Manopole added that they had observed a disturbing trend where animals were not permanently marked as required by the Animal Identification Act, Act 6 of 2002.

“This is a matter which we will have to escalate to the stock and theft police directorate and other stakeholders. We have also noted that while officials target known places, there are animal traders’ speculators who first background cattle on farms before presenting them at auctions, abattoirs or feed lots and that the surveillance may miss the initial introduction of suspect animals into the Province. We urge farmers to be extra vigilant in this regard and demand information of origin of animals before they arrive for backgrounding,” Manopole added.

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