Two wildlife veterinarians have agreed that transparency in the reporting disease outbreaks such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) enables the removal of animals and animal products’ intra-trade barriers.
The duo, who attended the November 12 to 14 Training Workshop for OIE Focal Points for Wildlife held in Gaborone, say the viable option is to establish an FMD early detection and warning system to establish disease interventions in free zone beef catchment.
In Southern African countries such as Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, FMD outbreaks occur when the carrier wild buffalo infect beef herds. However, because buffalo are carriers, they do not succumb to the symptoms.
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Sub Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Dr. Neo Mapitse, said disseminating and exploring opportunities for communication and establishing strong collaboration with relevant global public and private organizations working on wildlife biodiversity such as World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to name but a few, enable member countries to use their OIE focal points.
“The objective is to continue developing science-based standards on disease detection, prevention and control as well as safe trade measures to harmonize the policies related to disease risks at the interface between wildlife, domestic animals and humans. Updating the rough emergence and re-emergence of wildlife considering the impact on trade in domestic animals and their products, promotes data sharing at international level,” he said.
He said all members can disseminate or access critical information the World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) and World Wild Animal Diseases Notification System (WAHIS-Wild).
University of Pretoria Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies Director, Dr. Richard Burroughs, has said OIE has facilitated the identification of the economic and ecological reasons for the setting up of intra-trade barriers between countries due FMD on beef herds especially in Southern African. Buffalo are also carriers of the fatal bovine disease Theileriosis.
Burroughs said wildlife veterinary officers in tandem with their agricultural counterparts have managed to create FMD disease free zones for beef production in an effort to penetrate the lucrative European Union beef export market.
Veterinary and wild officers from 27 Middle East and African countries attended the third OIE Gaborone workshop. Out of the 54 African countries only two are non-members.
The Office International des Epizooties (OIE) established in 1924 has more than 178 member countries on all the 5 continents through a network of 200 Regional Representations.