Government told of strange virus before bird flu - vet

Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde says he is worried and concerned for the poultry industry since the outbreak of avian flu.

He says more than 200,000 chickens have been culled in the province.

Meanwhile, 24,000 birds have been culled on The Duck Farm in Joostenbergvlakte, resulting in more than 50 people losing their jobs.

This is the first time that South Africa is experiencing this strain of avian flu, Winde says.

We've been working as hard as we can, trying to make sure that we protect as much as we can.

Alan Winde, Economic Opportunities MEC

Winde has met with a group of vets and they are busy running tests.

He says negotiations on compensation have already started with the Department of Agriculture.

Internationally, compensation is used as a tool to managing disease...

Alan Winde, Economic Opportunities MEC

Bird Clinic Veterinarian Dr Deon De Beer says the risk to South African birds was picked up as early as last year.

He says he warned the Department of Agriculture, but nothing happened.

De Beer works with parrots and outside birds, not the chicken industry. He says a virus was detected in these birds as he sees an average of about 600 birds per week.

On the 7th of March 2016, I sent a letter to Department of Agriculture and I said to them, I see something strange happening in the industry...

Dr Deon De Beer, Veterinarian

I reported it...

Dr Deon De Beer, Veterinarian

They said this is a very interesting thing and we must pursue it, but we must do so at our own cost.

Dr Deon De Beer, Veterinarian

I have made numerous calls to the different departments in agriculture but till today no one listened.

Dr Deon De Beer, Avian Veternarian at Bird Clinic

Winde says he has a team of veterinarians and scientists busy looking at documents provided by de Beer.

To hear the rest of the interview, listen below:


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