The economy of South Africa is under extreme distress and that Agriculture not only contributes to the growth of the economy but to food security. The government has thus designated some Agricultural products and activities as essential services during the COVID 19 period. The auctions of all kinds of livestock, cattle, wool, mohair, skins and hides are allowed during the COVID-19 period. The sale of alcoholic beverages of any kinds are strictly prohibited and the breaking of this ban may lead to the closure of that particular auction facility.
Please note that all State Veterinary Offices are closed until 17 April due to the Coronavirus Lockdown. Please contact the number of the relevant office which can be found on the following webpage: Animal-Health-and-Disease-Control if you want to report a notifiable disease or need to speak to a State Veterinarian urgently. Please contact the Milnerton Veterinary export certification office for export certification of products and animals near Cape Town or where certificates are normally provided by them.
Pets travelling out of South Africa generally require a Veterinary Health Certificate certified by a state veterinarian.
Pets from the Western Cape, South Africa
Pets travelling out of South Africa generally require a Veterinary Health Certificate certified by a state veterinarian.
We have compiled some info sheets to assist you with your travels but these are to serve as a guide only and you are ultimately responsible for obtaining the import requirements from the country you are travelling to. If the information we provide differs in any way from the information received from the importing country please let us know so that we can update our information.
Want to know where the closest export certification office is?
|Country||Infosheet||Template certificate for the private veterinarian|
|Australia||Pets to Australia|
|Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe||SADC template|
|European Union||Western Cape private veterinarian template|
|Sweden||Dogs and cats to Sweden|
|United Arab Emirates||Dogs and cats to the UAE||Template Certificate UAE|
|United States of America|
|Other||General pet exports||Generic template|
Pets entering South Africa
Dogs and cats entering South Africa need to have an import permit.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in Pretoria is responsible for issuing import permits.
You can contact them on:
012 319 7559 OR 012 319 7514
You can also find information here.
Brucellosis is a zoonosis which means that it is an infectious disease which can be transmitted from animals to humans. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. It is primarily a disease of domestic animals (goats, pigs, cattle, dogs, etc) and humans and has a worldwide distribution, mostly now in developing countries.
Cattle affected with Brucella abortus have high incidences of abortions or weak calves, arthritic joints, and retention of the fetal membranes.
Click here to read the OIE disease card.
Bovine TB is also a zoonosis. It is a chronic wasting disease that causes considerable production losses and is caused by Mycobacterium bovis.
Click here to read the OIE disease card.
The Animal Health subprogramme of Veterinary Services conducts TB and Brucellosis testing as part of national surveillance for these 2 important diseases. If a farm is diagnosed positive for either of these diseases, state officials will step in and control the disease which will involve culling infected animals and testing until the herd is once again clean.
The African Horse Sickness vaccination season runs from June to October each year.
“African horse sickness (AHS) is a highly infectious and deadly disease of Equidae (horses, donkeys, mules, and zebra) caused by the African Horse Sickness virus which is a virus of the genus Orbivirus belonging to the family Reoviridae. AHS is not directly contagious but is spread by the Culicoides midge.
South Africa is endemic for AHS which means that it commonly occurs throughout the country. The Western Cape contains the only AHS free zone in the country and therefore the only place that horse exports can take place from is Cape Town. As a result of this AHS control is strictly regulated in the province.
AHS is spread by biting midges and the vaccine used is a live virus vaccine. The cause of previous outbreaks of AHS in the AHS controlled area (AHS CA) has been identified as the spread of the vaccine virus between horses by these Culicoides midges. This is the reason why the vaccination period has been restricted to the period when the midges are least active in the AHS CA.
Consequently, African horse sickness vaccinations are now controlled in the AHS protection, surveillance and free zones of the Western Cape. The vaccination season in the AHS CA in the Western Cape is legislated by the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to take place between 1 June and 31 October each year. Vaccination against AHS for horses in the AHS Surveillance and Free zones may only occur with written permission from State Vet Boland, and this permission can only be granted for vaccinations that are planned within this period.
Applications for permission to vaccinate against African Horse Sickness open in March every year so that permission can be granted timeously by State Vet Boland before vaccination can begin annually on 1st June in the African Horse Sickness Controlled area (Surveillance and Free zones) in the Western Cape.
Only registered AHS vaccines may be used during this time and it is illegal to use an unregistered vaccine or for a private person to vaccinate their horse in the AHS CA. All AHS vaccinations in the AHS CA must be done by a veterinarian. Permission must be applied for by your private veterinarian who will send an application to email@example.com
Responsible vaccination against AHS decreases the risk of outbreaks in our region, which is to the benefit of our local horse population and increases international market access for South African horses. The public’s adherence to these requirements assists us to ensure there are no further outbreaks, either from the use of vaccine outside the permitted times or from the illegal movement of an infected horse into the area.
Please take note of the following contact details where relevant:
For applications to move equids into and within the AHS controlled area and enquiries related to equid movement, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For applications to vaccinate equines against AHS in the AHS controlled area and enquiries related to vaccination in the AHS controlled area please contact email@example.com
For information about the identification of horses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For Pre-notification of movement please contact email@example.com
For AHS case reporting or information on sample collection for AHS confirmation and testing please contact your local state veterinarian and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
For queries regarding the registration of properties in terms of the Animal Diseases Act 1984 (Act no 35 of 1984) for the keeping of zebra or movement of zebra within and into the AHS controlled area please contact email@example.com
To report a transgression within the AHS controlled area relating to illegal movement, vaccination or any other equid related law enforcement matter within or relating to the AHS controlled area please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other enquiries please contact your local state veterinarian.
The Department would like to thank all horse owners, veterinarians and everyone else involved in the equine industry for partnering with us to get direct exports to the EU reinstated.
2020-04-08 Media release of African Horse Sickness case confirmed
Rabies is caused by a virus that can infect all mammals including humans (a zoonosis). The disease is spread to humans by contact with infected animals. Although rabies occurs in several wild animal species, transfer to humans occurs via the bite of a domestic dog or cat in more than 90% of cases. The symptoms of someone infected with rabies include fever, nervous symptoms, anxiety, inability to swallow and paralysis. In the final phase of the disease, the body shuts down and goes into a coma which is followed by death.
Once the rabies virus has entered the nervous system there is no cure! The only way to prevent the virus from entering the nervous system is to clean and disinfect the bite wound immediately and to receive very specific medical attention in the form of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) so rather take the advice of the saying “prevention is better than cure”.
Click here to read the OIE disease card on rabies.
The Animal Health Technicians of Veterinary Services hold regular campaigns in various areas to vaccinate dogs and cats and to create awareness about rabies. Not only does Veterinary Services deliver this service free of charge, but they bring it right to the community, where it is most convenient for people who do not have the means to transport their animals to the local vet.
The Provincial Veterinary Laboratory at Helderfontein, Stellenbosch renders an extensive diagnostic service to the livestock, poultry, ostrich and aquaculture industries and also delivers a supporting service to other provincial and national departments.
A wide spectrum of tests is conducted in the diagnostic bacteriology, serology, virology, parasitology, histology, PCR and biochemistry sections of the laboratory. The laboratory also receives samples such as meat, water, animal feed and swabs for hygiene monitoring for veterinary public health and food safety testing. The laboratory has implemented a computerized laboratory information management system (LIMS) that greatly enhances the capturing and availability of data on all functions performed.
The Provincial laboratory has obtained ISO 17025 accreditation for several test methods including controlled disease testing for Brucellosis, Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease, African Horse Sickness and Salmonella spp. detection. The food safety section is accredited for several methods testing food, feed and meat samples. Accreditation facilitates international recognition and the maintenance of a high standard of service delivery. Please visit the SANAS website for the latest schedule of accredited tested methods.
Samples sent to the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory for testing must be accompanied by a submission form, which can be obtained at the laboratory, or downloaded from the Forms tab.
Please consult this specimen submission guideline for more information on sample requirements and turnaround times for the various tests.
Please ensure that samples transported by road or air are packaged according to OIE regulations. The principle of a three-layer system should be followed. All biological material should be packaged and transported to:
- Minimise the risk of exposure for those in transportation and should protect the environment and susceptible animal populations from potential exposure.
- Protect the integrity of the specimens and avoid cross-contaminating other specimens and the environment.
A three-layer system comprises of the following elements:
- First layer: a leak-proof receptacle (avoid glass containers). The primary receptacle must be packaged within enough absorbent material to absorb all fluid in case of breakage and sealed in a clear plastic bag.
- Second layer: The secondary packaging must be durable, watertight, and leak-proof to enclose and protect the primary receptacle e.g. plastic container or water-tight plastic bag.
- Third layer: a rigid outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use e.g. plastic or cardboard box. The delivery address, name and telephone number of the laboratory and senders details should be indicated. The Proper shipping name and UN Number should be indicated on the third layer and the overpack (e.g. cooler box). Routine diagnostic specimens will be packaged as “Biological substance, Category B, UN3373”. Refer to the OIE website for more information.
The subprogramme Veterinary Public Health of Veterinary Services is responsible for food safety inspections especially at abattoirs, processing plants and dairy establishments.
Animal products usually require a veterinary export certificate before being allowed to enter another country.
This export certification is the assurance by the relevant role-players in the exporting country to the relevant role-players in the importing country that the animal or product complies with the requirements of the importing country.
Amendment of the Performing Animals Protection Act (PAPA) (Act 24 of 1935, amended by Act 4 of 2016)
Animals have played a longstanding role in the social, cultural, and agricultural history of South Africa. They are an important part of our heritage; enriching our environment, our economy and our lives. In addition to contributing to food security, animals often provide companionship, therapy and entertainment to people.
With growing awareness of the sentience of animals, it is becoming globally accepted that animals should enjoy positive states of welfare. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) defines animal welfare as, “how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express natural behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.” Championed by the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), animal welfare has gained visibility and political importance in the international community.
South Africa has progressive animal protection legislation that protects all animals against abuse. However, the legislation is criticized as being fragmented and outdated in that it emphasizes prevention of cruelty rather than informing duties of animal care. It does, however, infer a responsibility to develop and implement animal welfare principles which keep abreast of growing international obligations and ensure humane treatment and care of all animals.
A major amendment of the Performing Animals Protection Act (Act 24 of 1935) was implemented with the enactment of Act 4 of 2016, published on 19 January 2017, and the associated Regulations, published on 3 August 2017, whereby licensing of performing animals became the responsibility of the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) instead of the Department of Justice. DAFF confirmed that the government is committed to the wellbeing of industries that make use of performing animals, as well as the animals that are used in these industries. A notice was published to inform all role-players of Governments’ intention to monitor the welfare of performing animals, making use of mechanisms that are already implemented by, within or for these industries. Animal welfare monitoring can, therefore, be included as part of PAPA licensing conditions. This responsibility was subsequently delegated to state veterinarians (SV) of the WCDOA, who now issue PAPA licenses at the provincial level.
A veterinary procedural notice (VPN), which forms the basis for a license application inspection, was developed to assist the SV in this task. A self-evaluation checklist that can be used by the PAPA applicant was compiled from the VPN. Apart from animal health checks, many aspects covered in the VPN are required to be approved or endorsed by a facility veterinarian, such as a health and welfare plan for all the species/animals, the site where the animals are kept or work, indicating area(s) allocated to each species, including shelter, feed and water points, examination area, storage and disposal of waste and mortalities, animal training (equipment and methods), as well as associated records and registers. Biannual (twice a year) veterinary visits, animal movement notification and monitoring of animals used in the filming industry are also regulated to ensure the welfare of performing animals.
Considerable industry awareness efforts and workshops to ensure feasible implementation were undertaken in the province between Aug and Nov 2017, before all PAPA licenses issued in terms of the previous dispensation, expired in Dec 2017 and awareness initiative to secondary industry role-players continues.
Many citizens who work with animals in the province applied for PAPA licenses, but reports of the unlicensed use of animals are, however, encountered. To ensure compliance and the effective implementation of this amended Act to the benefit and welfare of performing animals, an admission of guilt fine system, covering a range of offences in terms of the PAPA, was magisterially approved across the entire provincially and is being instituted to support law enforcement. It is an offence in terms of the PAPA [Act 24/35, read with Amendment Act 4 of 2016, Sec 8 (a) and (f)] to use an animal without a PAPA license. It is, however, not only the person in who’s control (custody) the animal is working (this should be the PAPA license holder) but also any person who causes an animal to be used without a PAPA license, in other words, the person that enlisted the services of such an animal, that can be fined or charged in terms of PAPA, which can result in a criminal record.
The WCDOA remains committed to the people of this province and endeavours to support and enable its citizens to work and thrive within the legislative framework of our country. It remains the responsibility of the PAPA license holder to ensure that he/she submits the correct PAPA application form, correctly completed, with prescribed documents, at least 2 months before a valid PAPA license expires, to email@example.com and Cc DavidV@elsenburg.com.