On 13 November 2020, the Biosecurity Rules for Livestock Agents were published in Government Gazette 43900, Board Notice 135 of 2020. All livestock and game agents (also known as auctioneers) must familiarise themselves with the rules’ content. Therefore, this circular serves to clarify the implementation process and the intent of some of the most important stipulations.

Period of implementation

Albeit that the rules came into effect on the publication date (13 November 2020), an additional grace period of six months will be allowed for all livestock agents to familiarise themselves with the content, adjust their infrastructure and processes where necessary, and prepare for overall compliance. Implementation of the Biosecurity Rules for Livestock Agents must be finalised on or before 30 June 2021.

Specific mandatory compliance

Each livestock agent is required to comply with the following:

  • Compulsory registration with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (Apac). This includes livestock agents that conduct online and virtual auctions.
  • An external audit of the auction facilities and all biosecurity procedures must be undertaken bi-annually by an independent auditor. The South African Meat Industry Company (Samic) will fulfil this role. Detailed information about the audit procedure and costing for the livestock agent will be provided later.
  • Acceptance (in writing) of the responsibilities in Section 11 and Section 26 of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act 35 of 1984). This document of acceptance will form part of the external audit process.
  • Every livestock agent must appoint a qualified ‘biosecurity practitioner’ who must be registered with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC). The category of professionals who can perform this function are veterinarians, veterinarian specialists, animal health technicians, veterinary nurses, and veterinary technologists.

The ‘biosecurity practitioner’ is responsible for the auction Biosecurity Plan and must oversee compliance with minimum biosecurity requirements for all animals from different origins congregating for auctioning.

Record-keeping at the auction facility

Each livestock agent must implement a reliable and accurate biosecurity record-keeping system at an auction. This system must ensure that all transactions are carried out in accordance with an auditable and traceable process.

An animal destined for sale at an auction must be registered by the owner at least 24 hours prior to the actual auction. The receipt and sale of livestock are defined in Part V of the Rules in Respect of Livestock Agents. In terms of the Biosecurity Rules for Livestock Agents, the following additional documents must be submitted for any animal that arrives at the auction facility:

  • Original valid Article 6 and/or 8 documents from the owner of the animal.
  • Copy of the brand registration certificate of the animal’s.
  • Copy of the South African ID of the animal’s owner.
  • Original Animal Owner Health Attestation, which may have a confirmation of that attestation by a veterinarian for the farm of origin and the specific animal.
  • Complete details of the premises of origin on the Section 6 document: physical address, farm name, surveyor-general number, and portion number, as declared and signed by the owner of the animal, as well as the owner or manager of the premises of origin.

Animal identification

An animal verified and accepted at an auction must be properly and permanently marked with the owner’s registered mark in accordance with the Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act 6 of 2002) and Regulations published in Government Gazette no 25732 of 21 November 2003.

Before offloading an animal at an auction, the livestock agent must ensure that the registered brand belongs to the owner, check the brand marking certificate, and the ID of the owner and driver/transporter where applicable.

The following is not allowed:

  • Offloading of an animal at the arrival area (dirty area) without a registered mark is prohibited. Suppose the ear or identity tag for each animal’s individual identification, as per the Livestock Identification and Traceability System does not correspond with the list of animals in the Original Animal Owner Health Attestation. In that case such an animal may not be offloaded or received at an auction.
  • A freshly branded animal may not be offloaded and accepted.
  • An animal with wet paint marks of a previous auction may not be accepted within 28 days after the previous sale.
  • The branding or marking of an animal at the auction premises is prohibited.

A suspicious animal, or an animal that does not comply with marking requirements, or a suspected stolen animal must immediately be reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) local Stock Theft Unit (STU). The contact details and after-hours details of the STU must be available and displayed at the auction premises.

Demarcated areas at an auction facility

An auction facility must be divided into areas of varying risk. A flow diagram and a standard operating procedure that clearly indicate the different areas must be available and will form part of the external audit process.

The following areas are required:

An arrival area (dirty area)

Any vehicle offloading an animal at an auction is subject to a proper cleaning process before entering the arrival area.

The arrival area must include a pre-quarantine facility with a crush and a proper neck clamp to examine animals. Specific attention must be paid to a suspect animal for the presence of overt signs of disease and external parasites. In addition an animal must be checked for official marks/brands indicating any of the controlled animal diseases such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, and foot-and-mouth disease.

If there is any suspicion of infectious disease, such an animal should not be allowed into the biosecure area and must be placed in an isolated detainment area. Any such animal must be reported to the state veterinarian. The contact details and after-hours details of the state veterinarian must be available and displayed at the auction premises.

A vehicle parking area

The arrival area must include a parking area where vehicles that offload and reload can be cleaned and/or disinfected. Proper and functional cleaning equipment must be provided by the livestock agent or owner of the premises. This area may not be close or in contact with any animal or the auction pens.

Biosecure areas (clean areas)

The biosecure areas must be clearly demarcated with specific access points and notice boards. Personnel must wear clearly identified clothing (predominantly coloured overalls dedicated to specific areas) with movement between areas restricted to ‘essential only’. If movement is required, including vehicles entering biosecure areas, decontamination protocols must be followed.

Biosecure areas for third parties

All movement of third parties in biosecure areas are subject to the biosecure protocols and must be diligently recorded, monitored, and managed. Contact and exposure between third parties and animals should be avoided as far as possible. Special attention must be paid to Covid-19 protocols.

Cleaning and disinfection after auction

The entire biosecure area must be cleaned and disinfected after every auction.

Should you require any additional information, please contact Stephanie Nel at 011 894 3680 or stephanie.nel@apacouncil.co.za. – Press release, Apac