Botswana plans to slaughter close to 10,000 cattle to contain the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, according to reports monitored here on Tuesday.
The reports said Assistant Minister of Agriculture Molebatsi Molebatsi said the Gaborone authorities want to cull 9,757 cattle in North East District close to the border with Zimbabwe.
He said the move was necessitated by a rise in cases of foot-and-mouth disease in the area where so far some 19,000 cattle have been affected.
Botswana was forced to suspend exports of cloven hoof animals, beef, fresh meat, raw animal products in August following a foot-and-mouth outbreak in the country.
The government has also suspended the movement of cattle within the country.
Foot and mouth is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals.
The ban is expected to hurt Botswana’s earnings as the country is one of the biggest beef exporters to the European Union where it enjoys duty- and quota-free access. The country earned about US$20 million last year from beef exports to the EU.
The ban on the movement of cattle follows similar action by neighbouring South Africa and Namibia in August.