Home Farmer's Inside Track New biosecurity rules: 'Adhere or close down'

New biosecurity rules: ‘Adhere or close down’

Specific biosecurity precautions are now required to be taken by livestock auctioneers and agents during the gathering of live animals at auctions. Auctioneers have five months to comply with new rules or face closure

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South African livestock auctioneers and agents in the game farming industry are faced with new rules on how auction activities are to be conducted in the country.

The new rules, published in the Government Gazette, aims to reduce the spread of animal diseases as a result of auction activities.

Auctioneers and agents have until the end of June 2021 to comply with the new regulations and register with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (Apac). Failure to do so, Apac warns, will lead to the closure of non-complying livestock auction facilities.

Rules to enhance international trade

It is widely believed that auction facilities are the second level of detection for animal diseases in animals that are traded.

The rules that will regulate the livestock agents’ industry with specific reference to precautions that must be taken at auctions, was firt introduced by Apac in November 2020.

Francois Knowle
Francois Knowles, registrar of Agricultural Produce Agents Council. Photo: Supplied/Apac

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Apac registrar Francois Knowles says the rules resulted directly from November 2019’s foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak.

“The rules serve to ensure that all sales that occur through auctions, and that are managed by livestock agents, are done in a manner that will limit the spread of all and any notifiable diseases such as FMD,” Knowles explains.

He warns that the biosecurity rules should not be confused with the rules in respect of livestock agents which focus on general conducts.

The rules, he says, are primarily to ensure that South African livestock and game industries comply with the World Animal Health Organisation’s terrestrial code to enhance international trade.

Auction facilities a factor in spreading animal diseases 

Knowles states that because auction facilities contribute to the number of animals in which animal diseases are detected, they must play a role in reduction measures. “Auction facilities should play a very important role in reducing the spread of animal disease(s) through transactional business activities conducted within the auction facilities.”

He urges auctioneers to register with Apac and adhere to the biosecurity rules. “Failure to do so will lead to the closure of a livestock agency.”

Once registered, auctioneers are set to undergo an external audit of their facilities and all biosecurity procedures must be undertaken by an independent auditor bi-annually.

The South African Meat Industry Company, which is accredited by the South African National Accreditation System and appointed by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, will fulfil this role.

Detailed information about the audit procedure and costing for the livestock agent will be provided at a later stage. The new set of rules for auctions have been documented and can be accessed here.

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Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
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