“Diseases such as brucellosis and trichomoniasis are increasing dramatically. If these diseases are not kept in check, I’m afraid we can expect huge financial losses over the entire livestock production value chain in the country,” he said.
Van Rooyen told Farmer’s Weekly the increases can be attributed to government agencies no longer doing compulsory testing of livestock for sexually transmitted diseases, among others.
“The onus is now on the individual livestock owners to test their animals. I therefore implore livestock farmers to institute a comprehensive bio-security plan for their businesses as a matter of urgency. At this stage it seems as if it is only the stud breeding industry that tests their animals against these diseases on a regular basis.
“The best feeding and management practices on earth will mean nothing if the animals’ health and reproduction capacity is compromised.”
Free State RPO chairperson Neels Ferreira meanwhile said red meat producers appreciated the South African Directorate of Animal Health’s announcement earlier this year regarding the more stringent application of import regulations. “This will go a long way to prevent disease-ridden animals entering our country,” he said.