Namibia suspends import of animals from South Africa

Namibia’s Agriculture ministry suspended imports and in transit movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products from South Africa following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Through a Veterinary Public Notice, seen by Smart Farmer, the veterinary officials urged importers to suspend all previously issued import and in transit permits, noting they had been cancelled.

The suspension of the permits was issued in accordance with Section 11(1) of the country’s Animal Health Act 2011 which outlines the general regulations regarding the prevention, outbreak or suspected outbreak of disease, and matters accidental thereto.

The clause states that, except upon the authority of a written permit issued by a State veterinarian, and in accordance with the conditions specified in such permit, no person shall move, or cause or permit to be moved.

According to the statement, the ministry urged importers to contact the Veterinary Import and Export Office for further clarification on the ban.

Acting Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Albertina Shilongo says the government recognizes the economic importance of the disease and are putting measures to avoid an outbreak.

Foot and mouth disease is one of the most contagious diseases of cloven hoofed animals affecting cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and antelopes among others.

Common clinical signs of the disease include; salivation, not grazing, limping, reluctance to move, blisters and ulcers on the tongue, gums, nares udder and on the feet.

The disease, according to the statement, was first detected in the Vhembe District, Limpopo Province in the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Free Zone and reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on January 7, 2019.

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