November 27, 2003
Botswana Meat Commission Abattoirs Closed Due To Failure in Complying with EU Export Requirements
The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoirs in Africa will remain closed until further notice according to acting Director of Animal Health and Production (DAHP) Musa Fanikiso.
The abattoirs were closed recently because they failed to comply with European Union export requirements.
There were suspicions that some farmers were feeding poultry manure to cattle, which poses the risk of mad cow disease.
It was found that transporters of cattle destined for abattoirs were not adhering to animal disease control regulations.
The abattoirs were supposed to be re-opened within a week after remedial measures have been taken according to DAHP director Marcus Chimbombi, but now it is not known what is causing the delay.
Among the measures taken to comply with the EU regulations is the immediate ban of feeding cattle with poultry manure.
The DAHP has also restricted the movement of livestock and said it will disinfect cattle before they are loaded on trucks.
¡°Vehicles will be disinfected by DAHP staff before loading. Transporters will be allowed a maximum of 48 hours to reach the BMC,¡± Fanikiso said.
In addition, imported livestock will only be allowed in at border posts where animal handling facilities are available. Currently only Ramatlabama border post is equipped to receive such livestock.
At ports of entry, feed samples will be collected for lab testing to make sure all imported livestock feed does not contain meat or bone meal.
Fanikiso said farmers are no longer allowed to import, buy locally or use medicines, drugs and vaccines unless under supervision of veterinarians licensed to practice in Botswana.
He added that these changes pose a challenge to livestock operations.
He called on farmers, transporters and members of the public to fully comply with EU requirements.