The following article is from Reuters:
South Africa has banned exports of beef and other livestock due to a suspected outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the eastern part of the country, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Monday.
“We have suspended all exports of cloven hoofed animals (such as) cattle, goats, sheep and their products with immediate effect, except for products that have been fully processed to inactivate the FMD virus,” she told a news conference.
About half of the 600 animals tested in northern KwaZulu-Natal province were found to be positive, but the minister did not expect any culling at this stage.
Authorities were monitoring the possible spread of the highly contagious viral disease which causes lesions and crippling in cattle and sheep.
It does not affect people although the impact on the meat industry could be disastrous.
South Africa agricultural exports totalled 22.79 billion rand in 2010 with farming of animals making up 6.7 percent of the total, according to Department of Trade and Industry data.
“Exports from the entire country has been temporarily suspended,” Joemat-Pettersson said. The ban is expected to last for at least three months, she said.
She said some 500 tonnes a year of venison exports to the European Union would be affected, with some 100 jobs in danger at processing factories.
“Wool exports to China, which are already affected by Rift Valley Fever, is also a cause of concern to us,” she said.
Government officials suspect wild buffalo, natural carriers of foot and mouth disease, to have caused the latest outbreak.
Posted by Haylie Shipp