Cattle producers are expressing concern over a Foot-and-Mouth (FMD) outbreak in Namibia, shortly after the African nation was approved to export beef to the U.S.
According to a report from the Namibian government, 13 head of cattle were confirmed to have FMD out of a herd of 657 animals. The outbreak was reported on September 25th. The government said it confirmed the outbreak in a laboratory test three days later. The animals were then isolated from the herd.
On October 7th, Africa’s agriculture ministry announced the movement of all cloven-hooved animals and their products were banned following the outbreak. The ministry said it has sent team of experts into the region for vaccinating and monitoring.
In 2006, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recognized the region of Namibia south of the veterinary cordon fence as free of FMD with some restrictions. Areas North of the fence are an established buffer zone and not considered FMD free. The most recent outbreak is located on the Northeastern border of the buffer zone.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane commented that “FMD is a grave and persistent threat to the U.S cattle industry and warrants every available caution and protection to ensure that the problems plaguing cattle production in other parts of the world do not reach our shores.
“NCBA has serious concerns regarding the latest report of another FMD outbreak in Namibia, a country with an unfortunate history of FMD,” Lane continued. “While Namibia has taken steps to mitigate risk of FMD through the establishment of a cordon fence and buffer zone, the occurrence of this most recent outbreak in the buffer zone and indications of delayed reporting of the outbreak to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) raises serious concerns about Namibia’s newly granted access to the United States.”
Lane added that, “NCBA calls on USDA to investigate and reaffirm the efficacy of Namibia’s cordon fence, security of Namibia’s buffer zone and surrounding FMD protocols, and if found deficient, USDA must take immediate action to suspend imports from Namibia in order to ensure the continued safety of U.S. cattle and beef.”