Dr Peter Oberem of Afrivet warns that safeguarding the environment while protecting and improving the health and production of livestock is a complex task that must be tackled by the industry as a whole, with decisions based on science and not on “natural” quackery.
Safeguarding the environment while protecting and improving the health and production of livestock is a complex task that must be tackled by the industry as a whole, and decisions taken by manufacturers, marketers, wool growers and wool processors must be based on science and not on “natural” quackery, said Dr Peter Oberem, managing director of Afrivet Business Management.
Oberem was commenting on the feasibility of producing “clean, green” wool, in reaction to a call made by Hugo Lemon, a Woolworths textile technologist, that wool growers should continually challenge the products they use and insist on better products if they want to stay in line with stricter ecological and organic legislation. There are concerns around the use of pesticides on wool sheep. For example, if the washing process is not well managed, pesticides could end up in water sources.
While conceding that some of the older products on the market have reached the end of their usefulness and risk/benefit ratio, and could be phased out, Oberem said the use of so-called natural products worries him. “Many natural products – such as those based on aloe – have been tested and found to be ineffective. “Some of the most poisonous substances known, such as arsenic and nicotine, are natural. ‘Natural’ stock remedies can be very toxic to the animal as they are usually not pure and may be very difficult to quantify.
That’s why they can also cause far more severe environmental problems than pure chemicals about which we know a lot and which are not contaminated with all sorts of unknown substances,” he told Farmer’s Weekly. – Roelof Bezuidenhout