Farmers who lost their horses during the outbreak of African horse sickness (AHS) will not be compensated by the government.
This is according to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza when she was responding to DA MP Noko Masipa.
Didiza said compensation in terms of the Animal Diseases Act was only applicable to animals destroyed under supervision of veterinary services pursuant to a control measure.
She also said the animal diseases regulations provided for infected horses to be isolated for a certain period and destruction of infected horses was not prescribed.
“The horses mentioned in the question died and were not destroyed pursuant to any control measure or order.
“Section 19 of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984, is therefore not applicable to these animals,” Didiza said.
Asked about reasons for the inability of surveillance measures in livestock biosecurity to detect the outbreak of AHS and report the carnage, the minister said both passive and active surveillance for the disease were implemented within the AHS controlled area.
“Our passive surveillance has been shown to be excellent for the rapid detection of AHS outbreaks within the AHS controlled area, while our active surveillance provides assurance that no outbreaks circulate undetected in these areas.
“In the AHS-infected zone, only passive surveillance is implemented as active serological surveillance using unvaccinated sentinel animals would be impractical and even detrimental to the welfare of such horses in this zone.”
Didiza also said her department periodically sends out media alerts which encouraged all horse owners to protect their animals from AHS by shielding horses from midges by stabling them two hours before sunset to at least two hours after sunrise, and using registered insecticides and repellents to repel and kill midges, among other things.
She said reporting challenges regarding the AHS outbreak in the Eastern Cape earlier this year have been addressed with the relevant officials.
“The officials have indicated education and awareness was to be undertaken with farmers and reporting would be improved,” Didiza said.