WINDHOEK – Some 441 cattle, 13 171 goats and 731 sheep were exported to South Africa in July this year while the local export industry is still holding its breath for the final outcome of the livestock impasse between the two countries.
Since 1 May livestock exports from Namibia to South Africa have been placed under new strict new animal health requirements by the South African authorities.
The Acting Director of Veterinary Services, Dr John Shoopala, confirmed the exports to New Era but warned against “irresponsible reporting” on the current export situation. He was referring to a Namibian weekly which last week stated South Africa has said no to any livestock from Namibia and which created the impression that South Africa has shut its livestock export doors on Namibia permanently.
“Simply not true,” said Shoopala. “The current conditions for import of cattle into South Africa from Namibia stipulate, among other things, that the animals should originate from herds where no cases of tuberculosis and brucellosis have been reported in the last 24 months and the entire herd tested negative in the last 12 months.”
The definition of the term ‘herd’ as used in this context generated a lot of debate among producers and the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS).
It therefore became necessary to provide clear guidelines which would allow uniform understanding of a herd and to apply the RSA import conditions uniformly.
“The DVS’s new circular is aimed at providing guidelines which should be used in the application of the term ‘herd’ for the purposes of certifying cattle exports to South Africa,” he noted.
According to the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2013), the term ‘herd’ is defined as “a number of animals of one kind kept together under human control … a herd is usually regarded as an epidemiological unit.” An epidemiological unit is defined as a group of animals with a defined
epidemiological relationship that share approximately the same likelihood of exposure to a pathogen. This may be because they share a common environment (e.g. animals in a pen), or because of common management practices. Usually this is a herd or a flock. However, an epidemiological unit may also refer to groups such as animals belonging to residents of a village, or animals sharing a communal handling facility.The epidemiological relationship may differ from disease to disease, or even strain to strain of the pathogen.
For the purposes of certification of exports to the RSA and in the context of tuberculosis and brucellosis epidemiology, cattle under any one of the following scenarios should be regarded as a herd: Animals in a registered isolation camp, animals in a camp separated from the rest on the same farm, a feedlot on a farm which is also separated from other camps on the same farm and all the animals of one kind on a particular farm.
If a producer chooses to use one of the camps on his/her farm as an isolation camp for the purposes of export, the following guidelines should be observed: The use of an existing isolation camp which was already registered as such on the NamLITS database is acceptable; a designated camp with a single fence can be reserved for such a purpose, regardless of whether or not there are animals in adjacent camps; and the animals therein should not share the same water or feeding troughs with animals from other camps.
Before using any camp on the farm as an isolation facility for purposes of export, the producer should first apply for registration of the camp at the local state veterinary office.
Once the state veterinarian is satisfied the facility meets the requirements specified herein, the camp can then be registered on the NamLITS database.
Any movements into or out of the camp shall require a movement permit. If the herd in an isolation camp is free of TB and brucellosis, any new introductions into that camp should also be TB and brucellosis free, if the free status of the herd is to be maintained.
If untested animals are introduced, then the free status is lost.
Producers with a registered isolation facility for purposes of export should keep a register of all movements into or out of the facility, he said.
By Deon Schlechter