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South African Farm Minister lifts livestock auction ban

17 February 2020

South Africa has lifted a two-month ban on livestock auctions for cattle, sheep and other species following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in 2019.

According to reporting from Reuters, South Africa’s Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza has lifted the 4 December ban on livestock auctions after FMD was reported in Limpopo province. According to a statement delivered on 17 February, some affected farms remain quarantined and any future livestock auctions would need the necessary permits and documentation to trade.

In January 2020, an auctioneer was arrested on suspicion of violating the ban by selling animals from the northern province, where the latest outbreak began. That outbreak led neighbouring countries to ban South African animal imports.

Exports did continue to other key markets like the Middle East and China. South Africa’s livestock auction sector is estimated to be worth nearly 81 billion rand ($5.44 billion) per year.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a viral disease which causes lameness and lesions in cattle, sheep and other cloven-hoofed animals. The virus does not infect humans.

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