Welcome to the July 2018 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation's Newsletter
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Provincial Animal Health Forums going strong

“The Provincial Animal Health Forums have really taken off and good progress has been made in a number of the committees of the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF), said Dr Pieter Vervoort in his chairman’s report at the annual general meeting of the NAHF.
He said the NAHF continues to support the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in implementing the national veterinary strategy as the basis of all decisions. 
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Campaign to stop live exports kicks off

Animal Voice, a South African organisation which promotes the well-being of farm animals, commenced with a campaign to stop exports of live cattle and other livestock.
Conservancy organisations across the world started campaigns on social media under the hash tag  #StopLiveTransportDay.
Animal Voice writes on the accompanying letter which is directed to Mr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Mr Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that they must ensure that the practice of exporting live animals from South Africa to Mauritius to be slaughtered there, must immediately be terminated.
According to the letter the export of live animals which entails that animals have to stay for long periods on boats, is inhuman and a shame to humankind.
Animal Voice is of the opinion that South Africans should not be associated with such a practice.
Source: Beeld, 15 June 2018

Challenges addressed at Western Cape RPO AGM

Climate change, political uncertainty, stock theft, predation and animal health were some of the main challenges discussed during the annual general meeting of the Western Cape RPO, which was recently held in Moorreesburg.
Mr Louis Wessels said in his chairman’s report that it is disconcerting that only 30% of stock theft incidents are reported to the police. “Failure to report stock theft is causing a misrepresentation of the scale of the crime. The police will devote more resources, such as staff and vehicles to stock theft if more cases are reported.”
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Modus operandi of stock thieves changes frequently

The National Stock Theft Prevention Forum (NSTPF) has been involved in many meetings and crime prevention groups all over the country and it is obvious that the modus operandi of the livestock perpetrators are challenging, especially in Gauteng. 
Previously the NSTPF warned against various aspects of livestock theft and the involvement of the livestock owner to be a guardian to the livestock. Current evidence indicates that the results of the involvement of the livestock owner created a challenge for the livestock perpetrator. Livestock owners are more aware and count their animals regularly, when animals are stolen the livestock owners rush to abattoirs and auctions all over the country. The results of the activities of the livestock owners are that more and more brutal slaughtering of animals occurs on a daily basis.
These slaughtering occur mostly in specific areas such as the eastern and southern parts of Gauteng in areas such as Bronkhorstspruit, Welbekend, Acacia and Temba. In the Free State Province reference needs to made to the northern part of the province with areas such as Heilbron, Deneysville. Zamdela, Parys and Vredefort.
Irrespective of the economic impact of livestock theft the brutality and the way in which these crimes are executed, is totally unacceptable.

Thank you, mr Jaco Taute

Free State Agriculture praised Mr Jaco Taute, Chairman of the Interprovincial Stock Theft Prevention Forum for his efforts on behalf of livestock owners.
Free State Agriculture and the RPO are closely involved with the prevention and combatting of stock theft in cooperation with the SA Police Services within the rural safety strategy in the Free State. The Interprovincial Stock Theft Prevention Forum delivers a valuable service in the recovering of theft when thefts are reported via whatsapp. It works in Gauteng, Free State, North West and Mpumalanga.
Recently, Free State Agriculture requested that representatives of the Lesotho police services and the SAPS visit the markets/outlets for stolen livestock in Gauteng. Mr Taute went to a lot of trouble to make the pin drops of eleven identified markets available. All the information is compiled in a document which has been presented to the Priority Committee for Rural Safety.
Mr Tuate’s selfless service and sacrifices to the agriculturists in four provinces and especially in the Free Sate, deserves special mention.

Cattle farmers are responsible

A new report highlights producers’ commitment to animal welfare, beef quality, sustainability and community involvement by America’s cattlemen and women, resulting in responsibly raised beef.
The Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review (CSR), funded by the Beef Checkoff and completed in late 2017, is the second of its kind and compiles data collected from telephone interviews of 679 cattlemen and women across the country. The new report shows that in the years since, improvements have been made in all four areas of the cattle industry, namely healthier animals, better beef, smarter resource use and stronger communities.
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Ban on export of hides supported

The Skin, Hides and Leather Council (SHALC) has unanimously agreed to back the Department of Trade and Industry’s call for a ban on the export of wet- and dry salted bovine hides.
In split decisions, it agreed to back the imposition of an export duty on full substance and grain split blue/wet white bovine hides. In another split decision, it wants wet blue drop splits excluded from export duties.
The decisions, taking following a workshop between SHALC and the Department with the Red Meat Abattoir Association and the Red Meat Industry Forum as observers, are significant because SHALC has not previously been able to have an official position of the Department of Trade and Industry’s plan. The compromises made by members would have been by hide traders, on the ban on raw export hides and by the footwear upper tanneries on allowing the export without duties of drop splits.
At the workshop it was confirmed that the Department seeks the following three basic principles:
  • A total ban on the export of raw and wet salted hides.
  • An export tax of 20% to be levied on wet blue grain and drop splits, and full substance wet blue hides.
  • That export escalates to 40% after two years.
Source :  African Leather, Vol12, No 5, May 2018


How does antibiotic resistance develop and what are the consequences?
I thought it appropriate to discuss the problem of antibiotic resistance or as it is referred to in the press, antimicrobial resistance or AMR, as it is expected to affect livestock farming soon, if it has not already. For that purpose I have relied on a recent review (cited below) which you may wish to read to obtain more detail.
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Auctions for July 2018

Protocol on cattle rustling adopted

A protocol on the prevention, combating and eradication of cattle rustling in Eastern Africa has been adopted.
It has been signed by the Republics of Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and the State of Eritrea.
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Ranking of US States with the most cattle

The cattle inventory in the United States in 2018 is at 94.399 million head.  
Texas has the most cattle in the United States followed by Nebraska and Kansas. 
Thirty one states have over 1 million head of cattle. Fourteen states have over 2 million head of cattle. Nine states have over 3 million head of cattle. More than 13% of the cattle in the United States are in Texas.
Interestingly, Texas has less than 50% of South Africa’s cattle. South Africa is geographically the same size as Texas.
Source :

Illegal slaughter of donkeys targeted by LWCC

The Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee (LWCC) during its last meeting discussed the problem of the illegal slaughtering of donkeys.

Although the matter of illegal slaughtering of donkeys has been pursued on various levels, no progress has been made with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). A request has been submitted to DAFF to bring donkeys in under the animal identification act, as they are currently excluded. It seems that there is no political will to address the issue, despite the risk of food safety and human health. 

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Do you like to braai? Be glad you’re not Swedish

The Swedish pay by far the most for beef-, chicken-, pork- and sheep meat and fish as well in comparison with the rest of the world, with meat prices 14,2% higher as the world average, according to an international food price index.
The average meat prices in South Africa are 20% lower than the world average.
When it comes to beef, the Swedish pays 149% more than the world average, followed by Norway (63,7% higher) and Hong Kong (61% higher), while Ukrainians pay 52,3% less than the world average for beef and Malaysians pay 50,3% less. 
South African beef are 45% under the world average, according to a survey by the international online catering suppliers, Caterwings.  
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Vaccinate your animals against Rift Valley Fever

The latest official notification of an outbreak of RVF near Jacobsdal makes it necessary for farmers to decide what to do, according to the monthly report on livestock disease trends as informally reported by veterinarians belonging to the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA), a group of the South African Veterinary Association.
It is risky to leave sheep, goats and cattle unvaccinated since large-scale losses and especially abortions may follow. Nobody can be sure of future weather or predict with confidence how next summer's rains may cause large scale or severe outbreaks, but if everyone waits until such outbreaks occur before vaccinating, there may be large scale losses since Onderstepoort Biological Products will be overwhelmed by an avalanche of orders and vaccines will therefore be very scarce.
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Beef demand still strong in the US

Internationally, reports indicate that beef demand remains very strong in the US particularly at retail and export, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
The US market has entered into its peak demand period, which is currently supporting prices.
Locally, the lower feed price together with the lack of weaner calves to rebuild the national herd in the medium term may result in carcass prices to remain elevated for a long time period to come. Prices are expected to enjoy price support during month end.
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International lamb and mutton prices are high

Internationally, strong international demand for lamb and mutton continue to support prices, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Locally, lamb and mutton prices are expected to be supported by improved demand during month end.
New Zealand lamb prices traded higher during the week of 22 June compared the previous week. Lamb prices closed 0.6% higher at NZ$115.1/head for 15kg lamb. Lamb prices were 0.7% higher at NZ$161.2/head for 21kg lamb. Ewe prices traded sideways at NZ$106.6/head for a 21kg ewe.
The import parity price for lamb was 2.0% higher at R78.24/kg, while the import parity price for mutton was 1.4% higher at R55.51/kg.
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Lamb and Mutton SA’s new video series, “Making the Cut”

Here at Lamb and Mutton SA we value South African butchers as opinion leaders and partners, who helps to empower the consumer with information to be able to make good purchasing decisions. We believe that if the butcher is informed and positive about a product, the consumer will be informed and positive about a product. Furthermore, we believe that by making the image of the South African butcher a more approachable one, consumers will be encouraged to talk to their butcher and ask them for help when deciding which cut to purchase. Therefore we decided to start a new social media video series, “Making the cut” in cola(m)boration with the South African National Butchers Challenge.
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