It's been a costly three months for SA's sheep and wool industry, which is sitting on R700m worth of wool exports. China has lifted the ban on SA's animal products that it imposed after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD), but not all products have been cleared for export. SA has been grappling with the outbreak since the beginning of this year, when the disease was found in Vhembe, Limpopo. This led to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) suspending SA's FMD-free status in January and China responding to this in February with a suspension of SA's wool and animal skin imports. According to the department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries, the disease is caused by a highly contagious virus that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and some wildlife. The virus can infect entire populations of animals, leaving them with blister-like sores in their mouths, between their hooves and on their teats. It rarely kills adult animals, but they st...

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