Botswana has suspended all exports of cattle and related meat products while authorities investigate a suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
The suspected cases involve animals in the North-Eastern district that’s close to Zimbabwe, Kefentse Motshegwa, Botswana’s acting director of Veterinary Services, said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. All movement and slaughter of cattle within the country have also been halted.
The ban on the movement of cattle follows a similar step by neighbour South Africa last week to curb an outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease which affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. It does not affect human beings.
Cattle exports are a key source of foreign currency for Botswana, after minerals and tourism. The southern African country’s beef producers enjoy relaxed export terms with the European Union and Norway.
The movement restriction facilitates disease investigation and will be lifted once the probe is concluded, Motshegwa said.