By Penny Fourie
A five year live-stock movement ban has been imposed in three northern KwaZulu-Natal regions following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The suspension affects uMkhanyakude, Zululand and the King Cetshwayo district.
KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi said the movement of cattle is the main reason for the rapid spread of the disease, which has already killed thousands of live-stock in the northern parts of the province. During a visit at a vaccination site at Ebukhipha Deep Tank near KwaHlabisa, the MEC warned that random roadblocks would be conducted to ensure that communities comply with the movement prohibition.
She expressed concern about the persistent movement of livestock in KwaHlabisa even after the prohibition was announced.
“We are pleading with the farmers and cattle owners to refrain from transporting cattle for whatever occasion because this leads to the spread of the disease. We also urge the people to stop moving the livestock at night,” she said.
Farmers are also urged to not let new animals into their herds and to minimise moving their herds to other farms.
The disease affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals (domestic and wild). It does not affect humans.
Sithole-Moloi said while government understood the impact that the ban will have on the livelihoods of stock owners, curbing the spread of the disease was a priority. Bhekisana Mbatha, chairperson of the uMkhanyakude District Livestock Association welcomed the ban on the movement of livestock, adding that the vaccinations will help to stop the spread of disease and rescue the local economy..
“The action taken by the government is most welcome. We have been very worried about this disease, and the roll-out of vaccination will assist us a great deal.”
He said that stock theft should be combated head-on by the law enforcement agencies to ensure that it doesn’t derail the government's efforts. The campaign will be rolled out to other areas that are at a high risk of infection.
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