MAWF suspends existing veterinary import permits

07 Jun 2016 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 07 JUN (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has suspended existing veterinary import permits in respect of the import of live cattle, beef and intestines.
MAWF Acting Permanent Secretary Sophia Kasheeta in a media statement on Tuesday explained that the suspension is applicable retrospectively to all valid veterinary import permits that are in circulation and all future issuances of such permits.
“Following the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s recognition of Namibia as a country with a negligible risk for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, changes in the approved Veterinary Import Permits (VIP) are required to provide the level of protection commensurate with the status so obtained. As a result thereof, the existing veterinary import permits in respect of the import of live cattle, beef (excluding deboned beef) and intestines are hereby suspended.”
Namibia is the first African country to be recognised as having an insignificant risk for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) at its 84th General Session of the World Assembly approved the recognition of Namibia as having a negligible risk for the disease on 24 May 2016.
A new model veterinary import permit has been drafted and will be shared with trading partners for their comments and approval.
All other animals and animal products, excluding live cattle, beef (excluding deboned beef) and intestines, may still be imported as normal, subject to existing veterinary import permit conditions, according to her.
When Kasheeta made the announcement about Namibia’s status last week, she said it is worth noting that Namibia has OIE-approved Foot and Mouth Disease and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia official control programmes, through which the eradication of these diseases will be addressed in the areas north of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF). This achievement should motivate business communities to pursue higher value markets for livestock and livestock products, and most importantly, for the farming community to take all reasonable efforts to protect the country’s highly acclaimed livestock sector.
Mad Cow Disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease (encephalopathy) in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration of the brain and spinal cord. The disease may be most easily transmitted to humans by eating food contaminated with the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract of infected carcasses.