Know your responsibilities when moving livestock in South Africa

Roundup of cow calf pairs to fresh pasture

Since 30 April 2024, foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks have been reported on three farms in the Humansdorp area of the Eastern Cape, approximately 100 km from the Western Cape border. Western Cape livestock owners are urged to take all possible precautions to avoid introducing the disease to our province.

FMD is a highly contagious, painful viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs, that causes sores in the mouth and/ or around the feet. However, it can take up to two weeks from the time the animal is infected until it shows clinical signs. During this period, animals may appear normal and healthy, but they are infectious and if they are moved, the disease will spread to other animals. The disease can also be spread through vehicles transporting animals, feed, and equipment and through clothing and footwear.

To reduce the risk of FMD virus spreading, cloven-hoofed animals that are moved must be accompanied by

  • an owner’s declaration about the origin, health status and destination of the animals; and
  • Undertaking by the recipient of the animals that they will be kept separate for 28 days before they are introduced to the rest of the herd. This isolation period allows the new animals to be observed for signs of disease without placing the rest of the herd at risk.

Western Cape Traffic Management have been requested to assist with monitoring vehicles transporting livestock and whether they have the correct documents.

In addition,

  • To provide further re-assurance to buyers, it is highly recommended that a certificate from a private veterinarian accompanies purchased animals. The veterinarian should indicate that the disease does not occur in the area or herd of origin and that the animals being moved are clinically healthy.
  • The Western Cape State Veterinarian should also be informed of any movement of cattle, sheep, and goats, via on an online system. The provincial Department of Agriculture has sent a web link to all known owners of FMD susceptible animals and the link is also available on the department’s website. The State Veterinarian will assess the disease risk of the movement, based on origin and destination, and may need to inspect the animals after arrival.
  • All vehicles transporting animals should be washed and disinfected before leaving the farms.

For further information and examples of all documents mentioned, go to the Western Cape Veterinary Services website at

To learn more about FMD, visit the WCDoA website:

Media Enquiries

Mary James

Head of Communication

Cell: 084 817 2376


Share this post with your friends

What's the password?

Login to your account