Tackle animal disease on national level – SA vets

South Africa will have to change its approach to animal health to control animal disease more effectively.

In order to improve the control of animal diseases, the country will have to abandon its provincial approach, said Dr. John Adam from the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC).

The council recently announced its strategic plan to parliament. It will be in place until 2019.

The committee wanted to know if scheduled diseases in the country were under control and whether the outbreak of bird flu could have been prevented.

Adam said it will never be fully under control. It has to be managed and coordination concerning the diseases must be done at national level.

Private veterinarians

He said scheduled diseases are controlled sicknesses and the outbreak of such a disease not only affects animal health, but eventually also food security.

Therefore, private veterinarians will have to play a bigger role – along with government – to combat these diseases.

Adam said in the case of poultry disease, which was probably transmitted by waterfowl coming from Zimbabwe, it could probably not have been controlled. “We can’t even control people who cross the borders, let alone birds.

“Diseases know no boundaries. At this stage, veterinary decisions are made at provincial level. When a disease spreads, the border gets infected within a day.”

Five months

DA spokesperson on agriculture, Anette Steyn wanted to know if there were any other outbreaks of animal disease that could have been prevented and whether it was now adequately addressed.

This comes after it took five months to identify the disease cryptosporidiosis in lambs and calves in the Free State. Adams said it is difficult to control the outbreak of such a disease without enough man-power, which is usually the case in South Africa.

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