Global animal Health standards and their effect on the livestock and meat exports in Kenya
Ithondeka, Peter M
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The risk that imported livestock and their products may introduce disease restricts trade in these commodities from parts of the world where these diseases have not been eradicated. This reduces investment and development of the livestock sector in many developing countries as well as export trade opportunities and global food supply. The sanitary standard setting body mandated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the World Organization for Animal Health (OlE). The Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the OlE prescribes both horizontal and vertical standards in exports of livestock and livestock products. There is no adequate information of the impact of sanitary (health) standards on exports of livestock and meat in Kenya. This study aimed to fill this knowledge gap by determining seroprevalence of trade sensitive livestock diseases, identifying the constraints of different stakeholders along the livestock meat production and marketing chains that hinder exports and proposes interventions that can facilitate the export of livestock and meat products in the study areas of Garissa, Taita and Laikipia in Kenya. The study was conducted in two parts. The first part was a cross-sectional survey to determine the sero prevalence of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD), Contagious Bovine Pleuro-pneumonia (CBPP), Rift Valley Fever (RVF), Contagious Caprine Pleuro-pneumonia (CCPP), Pestis de Petit Ruminant (PPR), Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy (BSE) and Brucellosis. The second was a longitudinal study of 118 cattle selected in Garissa and follow-up to Chakama and Taita ranches where they were finished before slaughter for domestic and export markets or exported live to Mauritius. Identification and traceability of the 118 cattle in the longitudinal study was also done by use of a radio frequency identification device (RFID). Serology was used to assay antibodies for the various diseases using the recommended OlE tests. cross sectional sero-prevalence survey that was conducted confirmed occurrence of trade sensitive diseases namely FMD, RVF, CBPP, Brucellosis, CCPP and PPR in the study regions and thus their potential hindrance to exports of the livestock and meat.ln some cases it was however not possible to tell whether the sero-reactors were due to previous vaccinations or due to present or post infections.While all the sera were negative for CCPP in goats, 5 sheep that grazed in the same flock with goats from two ranches in Laikipia tested positive for CCPP. Out of 140 serum samples collected from goats in Taita ranches, 3% were positive for CCPP by the Compliment Fixation Test (CFT). Evidence of natural exposure to FMD was established in Laikipia and Garissa in non-vaccinate categories of camels, sheep and goats. However, in the longitudinal study involving the 118 export cattle, identified and traced using Radio Frequency Identification Reticular boluses installed at the Garissa market and followed-up through trekking grounds of Chakama and the fattening grounds in Taita, and finally to the quarantine grounds for export, indicated an FMD sero-prevalence of 60% at Garissa. The FMD sero-prevalence of the followed-up cattle increased to 76% as they moved south to enter the Taita ranches. However, the pre-export batch of cattle was FMD antibody-free at the isolation grounds in Taita.Antibodies to brucellosis were detected in camels, sheep and goats in Garissa but none in Taita and Laikipia. Brucellosis was not detected in cattle in any of the study areas, indicating that the disease may not be a hindrance to export of either live cattle or beef. All species from the study sites tested positive for RVF virus IgG antibodies but were all negative for IgM. There was thus a real risk of exporting RVF into countries of the Middle East. This remains a constraining issue for live animal exports from Kenya. A total of ninety- eight (98) whole brain samples collected from export slaughterhouses, between March and April, 2009 were negative for BSE using the prp test. They included brain samples from a herd of 68 cattle that had electronically been identified using reticular boluses (RFIO) and ear tags in June/July 2008 at the Garissa Market, in North Eastern Province and followed-up longitudinally to the point of slaughter at the Hurlingham abattoir. Among the respondents to a questionnaire, 58.3% of traders engaged in low volumes exports of livestock. The major export destinations were Dubai, Tanzania and Mauritius. Eight (40%) out of the 20 traders were aware of trade sensitive diseases which included FMO (18.8%), RVF (15.6%) and anthrax (6.3%). The respondents suggested solutions to the control of these diseases, including vaccination (12.5%), quarantine (6.3%) and treatment (6.3%). Some traders (40%) perceived government procedures as a constraint to livestock trade, citing delays in obtaining the movement permit (20%) and high cost of the movement permit as the main problems (40%). It is concluded that by simply vaccinating livestock destined for export from Kenya against RVF, it is unlikely that the diseases would be introduced into an importing country even if vectors and pathogens were present in the exporting country. It is however, important that the certification process is credible and based on risk analysis and trust from exporting country to the importing country. The vaccination coverage for trade sensitive diseases like FMD is low and poses a challenge to the control. The finding of pre-export batch of cattle being free of FMD antibodies implied that the Disease Free Zones (DFZ) or compartments can be realized. The test and slaughter method for CBPP offers a strategy for exports and can be replicated for other diseases namely; brucellosis and CCPP. The study recommends the need for increased awareness creation of trade sensitive diseases, export geared husbandry and animal disease control, refocusing formulation and implementation of tailor made strategies in exports at all levels of the livestock and meat exports value chain. The government's role in enabling policy and legislation is crucial.