The Programme Veterinary Services is responsible for managing animal risks and the safety of foods from animal origin under national and international standards and conventions. The legal mandate for executing these functions is vested in the Animal Disease Act, 1984, and the Meat Safety Act, 2000. The primary focus is on active and passive disease surveillance, disease control and prevention interventions, export facilitation of animal products, and the delivery of a diagnostic laboratory service.
Subprogramme: Animal Health has the responsibility to apply the Animal Diseases Act within the Western Cape Province. Official veterinarians and animal health technicians stationed within 8 State Veterinary areas (Boland, Worcester, Swellendam, Malmesbury, George, Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, and Vredendal) distributed within the Province to execute the functions demanded by this Act.
In addition to the above regulatory responsibilities, officials are intimately involved in servicing the emerging and subsistence farming sector. This is achieved by regular visits to holdings to inspect livestock, providing assistance with treatment and vaccination of animals, collection of diagnostic samples, and the dissemination of information on preventive and corrective animal health.
Subprogramme: Veterinary Public Health ensures the safety of meat and meat products through the implementation of the meat safety act (act 40 of 2000), the animal diseases act (act 35 of 1984) and other relevant legislation.
The VPH team includes state veterinarians and meat inspectors who monitor and audit the application of hygienic procedures at abattoirs to ensure compliance with the Meat Safety Act. Hygiene management practices at abattoirs, meat and dairy export establishments; the humane handling of animals presented for slaughter; the setting of standards for new abattoirs and the grading of existing facilities are important functions carried out by these officials.
Approximately 80 local abattoirs are inspected and monitored regularly to ensure that the requirements and hygiene management practices are following legal requirements and national and international standards. Food Safety awareness campaigns are launched regularly to educate the general public about the dangers of unsafe food.
Subprogramme: Veterinary International Trade Facilitation promotes, facilitates, and maintains international market access for products of animal origin from within the province through provision of control measures and guarantees including risk assessment and health certification to provide Sanitary and Phytosanitary guarantees required by the importing countries.
There are 117 registered export establishments that the Export Control section manages of which nine of them are European Union (EU) approved.
Subprogramme: Veterinary Laboratory Services is situated at the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory (PVL) in Stellenbosch and renders a diagnostic service to the Programme, the private veterinary sector, other departments, such as National Health and Nature Conservation, and commerce associated with the agricultural industry. A diagnostic service is also rendered to the dairy, beef, sheep, pork and racehorse industries, as well as the poultry, ostrich and aquaculture sectors.