July 11, 2011


Botswana sells disease-infected cattle



The government of Botswana has admitted that it is selling cattle supposed to have the infectious foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) to Zimbabwe.


 The neighbouring country is culling 45,000 herds of cattle but says those found to be in "a good state will be sold to Zimbabwe".


According to reports, Assistant Minister of Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi told farmer organisations that 120 cattle had already been sent to Zimbabwe as a trial.


He said the decision was taken after a realisation that 45,000 cattle had been infected and if all of them were slaughtered there would no market for the meat.


"Since the number increased from 23,000, we found it fit to sell to Zimbabwe," Molebatsi was quoted as having said.


"They have a population of around 15 million people and a very few cattle so they could consume such quantities of meat."


The south western parts of Zimbabwe have been hit by FMD outbreaks in the past.


Botswana has always blamed its own frequent outbreaks on the free movement of cattle between the two countries.


Obatolu Ushewokunze, the director of Zimbabwe's Department of Veterinary Services could not be reached for comment.

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