Dr Gininda Msiza, director of veterinary services in the province, said they could not wait for the results of the typing test any longer.
“We need to get rid of the animals before the disease spreads to other farms or more people become infected,” Msiza said.
Infected animals could either be destroyed depending on the contamination risk, or the meat could be sold. The first problem, however, was that there was a small market for goat meat – Boer goats were usually sold live for traditional purposes.
So far, 300 of Vivers’s 900 goats had tested positive for brucellosis. Viviers said he made around R30/kg, which equated to about R900 for a live goat. Ewes cost about R1 500 a head, and they usually produced twins but they could also produce kids for about seven years.
Three of Viviers’s 400 cattle had tested positive for the disease but he had about 200 weaners that he needed to sell. “Food is getting scarce and I need to get rid of these weaners. Keeping them so long is very hard on my veld,” he said.
The problem with the cattle, according to Viviers, was that an abattoir needed a special licence to slaughter these animals. The Beaufort West abattoir did not have the licence but some of the other abattoirs with licences had refused to take the meat.
Viviers was trying to get an emergency permit to slaughter the cattle as he had an abattoir on his farm for slaughtering game. Msiza said veterinary services was looking at the abattoir on the farm as a potential place to slaughter the animals but that there were some structural problems that needed to be addressed, should this be decided.
Viviers wanted to get rid of the infected animals as soon as possible.
“It has been a nightmare. I can’t move animals off my farm. I just want to get rid of the infected animals so that we can get on with our lives,” he said.